- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

North Carolina

Last season: 33-7, lost in NCAA championship game.

Nickname: Tar Heels.

Coach: Roy Williams.

Conference: Atlantic Coast.

Who’s gone: G Marcus Paige, F Brice Johnson, C Joel James.

Who’s back: G Joel Berry II, a junior likely to get the first crack as the successor to Paige when it comes to taking a big shot. G/F Justin Jackson, a junior who averaged about 12 points per game. F Kennedy Meeks, a 6-foot-10 senior and the team’s top returning rebounder. F Isaiah Hicks, a senior who can provide scoring and rebounding if he stays out of foul trouble.

Who’s new: F Tony Bradley Jr., a 6-10 McDonald’s All-American set for an immediate contributing role up front. G Brandon Robinson, a 6-5 freshman wing. G Seventh Woods, a 6-2 guard known for his athleticism. G Shea Rush, the son of former UCLA player JaRon Rush.

The Skinny: Losing Paige and Johnson were huge blows for a team that lost to Villanova on a last-second 3-pointer on the final Monday night of the season. But the Tar Heels’ top four upperclassmen all boast double-digit scoring potential and the team has plenty of depth on the wing with the return of Nate Britt and Theo Pinson. If Hicks can stay on the floor after past battles with foul trouble and Bradley provides a reliable interior presence, this looks like a group that can contend for an ACC title and a Final Four berth.

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Online:

AP College Basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org

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