Will UNC defend its championship?
After winning the NCAA Tournament in 2017, do the North Carolina Tar Heels have what it takes to repeat in the 2017-18 season?
According to the latest oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the latest odds have North Carolina listed at 20/1 to win the NCAA Tournament next season. Michigan State is the current favorite at 15/2 while Arizona is listed at 8/1 and Duke is listed at 21/2.
The Tar Heels went 33-7 last season and went on to win the NCAA Tournament with a 71-65 win over Gonzaga in the championship game. The Tar Heels suffered a massive loss though after the season as five players graduated and two others declared for the NBA Draft. Justin Jackson declared after averaging 18.3 points per game and Tony Bradley also declared early after posting 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Also gone are Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, who both averaged double figures in scoring. Meeks averaged nearly a double-double of 12.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
UNC will be relying heavily on Joel Berry II this upcoming season. The senior averaged 14.7 points per game last season as a junior and had 22 points in the championship game. The Heels were able to add grad transfer Cameron Johnson from Pitt. A 6-8, 210-pound forward, he averaged 11.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Panthers last season. The Heels will also rely heavily on their recruiting class, a total of five players. Leading that pack is 5-star guard Jalek Felton out of Gray Collegiate Academy. He committed to UNC way back in 2014.