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No. 21: North Carolina Tar Heels

Image (1) university-of-north-carolina-logo-thumb-220x177-1144.jpg for post 315

2009-10 record: 20-17 (5-11), tied for ninth in ACC
Lost to Dayton in NIT final.
Coach: Roy Williams, 196-53, 7 years (614-155 overall)
Last NCAA appearance: 2009
2010-11 roster [click here]
2010-11 schedule [click here]

The good: A terrible season by North Carolina standards should temper expectations for 2010-11. Frankly, having the Heels ranked seems like a stretch - except they have Top 25 talent. Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald and freshmen Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall were all highly touted recruits.

That’s a nice blend of talent and depth, which should be enough to put UNC back in the Big Dance.

The bad: Is Zeller injury prone or merely snakebit? The junior 7-footer has missed significant portions of the last two seasons due to injuries. That can’t happen this year. Unlike the previous two seasons, Carolina doesn’t have much frontcourt depth.

Sophomore John Henson had a disappointing freshman season and will be pushed into a starting role. Transfer Justin Knox is a backup. That leaves Barnes, the top recruit in the class of 2010, to pick up the slack.

The unknown: The biggest criticism of Larry Drew II is that he’s not Ty Lawson. Who is? The junior point guard had a 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, a perfectly respectable number.

Still, the Heels need more. He’ll be pushed by Strickland for his starting job, but it’s unclear if that’ll help UNC.

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.