The North Carolina Tar Heels had many holes in the 2013-14 NCAA basketball season, but with most of last year’s team returning and a great recruiting class to boot, the team in now the most complete in the ACC.
The Tar Heels had basically no bench last season, and struggled at getting any boost from that area of the team. Marcus Paige was forced to play heavy minutes, and while he was able to lift the Tar Heels more often than not, he still slowed down in some games. The frontline of Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson does not get a ton of backup even with the class coming in, but with another year of experience, the duo could be the best not just in the conference but in all of college basketball.
Joel James is not a scoring big man, but his tenacity and toughness should allow either of the starters to get some much-needed rest during games. Meeks and Johnson compliment each other well, with the former owning a deft touch and passing skills, and the latter showcasing solid defense and a sneaky jump hook.
The bench will benefit with the addition of the three freshman, Theo Pinson, Justin Jackson and Joel Berry, because the trio will force Nate Britt to become a spark plug off of the bench instead of carrying the pressure as a starter. Pinson will either help replace J.P. Tokoto on defense, or allow coach Roy Williams to pair the two up as an effort to take an opponent out of the game with terrific wing defense.
Berry will allow Paige to move to the two-guard slowly, which should help give Paige a little more rest physically and mentally.
The Tar Heels will have a potent starting five with the addition of Jackson in the mix. With a stocked bench, they should be considered the preseason favorites to claim the ACC title.