UNC Basketball: High-Scoring Tar Heels Will Challenge Duke for ACC Championship

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 08:  The  North Carolina Tar Heels first team watches the reserves play the final minutes of a win over the East Tennessee State Buccaneers during play at Dean Smith Center on December 8, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 78-55.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The North Carolina Tar Heels don't have the same amount of elite talent that they had last year, but head coach Roy Williams' squad will challenge rival Duke for the ACC championship this season.

North Carolina has started the season 7-2, including losses to a good Butler team at home and the No. 1-ranked Indiana Hoosiers on the road.

Williams' team is ranked seventh in the nation with 84.3 points scored per game, and he has a lot of offensive talent in his starting lineup and on the bench.

James Michael McAdoo has gotten off to a good start to the season, averaging 15 points per game, which leads the team. Junior guard Reggie Bullock ranks second on the team at 12 points per game and is giving the backcourt consistent scoring.

The encouraging part of the team's offensive play this year is the unselfish play and willingness to make the extra pass.

North Carolina leads the nation in assists per game, and the patience the team shows on offense in order to get the best possible shot is quite impressive.

Not only are the Tar Heels playing well offensively, but they also rebound the ball very well. Despite losing frontcourt stars Tyler Zeller and John Henson to the NBA draft in June, North Carolina is the fifth-best rebounding team in America with 45 boards per game.

Rebounding well and scoring a lot of points consistently is a recipe for success, and if the Tar Heels can continue to shine in these areas of the game, they could be a very good team in March Madness.

This could be a lackluster season for the ACC in regards to having teams ranked in the Top 20 of the polls. Duke will obviously be a title contender all season, but Maryland, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Boston College aren't likely to challenge UNC and the Blue Devils for the conference title.

Teams with size, depth and scoring talent are always going to be tough to beat, and even though the Tar Heels lack the star power they have had over the last few years, this is a well-rounded team that uses its athleticism and offensive talent to win games.

Duke is the favorite to win the ACC right now, but North Carolina will be give them a difficult challenge for the conference title when ACC play begins. This is an underrated Tar Heels team capable of surprising people this season.