BC at North Carolina: 5 Big Questions with Keeping It Heel

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STG: We all remember that the Heels were an Elite Eight team last season. About where do you place their chances of taking it all the way this March and April?

KIH: About the same as I put them in 2008 and 2009. One year, the Heels suffered a huge let down, and the other, they dominated their way to a national title. This team is deeper and probably more talented than the ‘05 and ‘09 teams.

What they are lacking is a leader with killer instinct. This is probably the nicest Tar Heel team I’ve seen in my lifetime, but can Barnes, Henson or even Zeller step up and provide the necessary spark, swagger and tough leadership to take this team to the promised land? Hard to say right now, but I don’t see another team in the country being as good as UNC come March. I believe with 100% confidence the Tar Heels would make the playoffs in the NBA right now. When players like James McAdoo and PJ Hairston hit their stride, look out.

The one thing that could kill the Tar Heels season is an injury to Kendall Marshall. UNC has some big-time point guard recruits coming in the next 2 seasons, but at present they are razor-thin at the position. The Heels get by with shooting guard Dexter Strickland doubling as the backup point. Beyond that, it’s just freshman Stillman White, who is not ready to handle any role of significance. Kendall is the engine to everything the Heels do offensively. We are a completely different team without him on the floor, with a ton of scorers, a few shooters, and a bunch of big men. UNC needs a point guard like Marshall; without him, this isn’t a title-contending team.