With Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and key backcourt members returning next season, the North Carolina Tar Heels will be an absolute force in the ACC.
Roy Williams' squad also could be the preseason favorite to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. UNC has an array of options, including true big men in the post, versatile wings and shooters on the perimeter.
With the addition of McDonald's All-Americans James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston, it would not be surprising to see the Tar Heels make a deep run into early April.
Throughout the season, who will lead them statistically?
Continue reading to find out who will pace North Carolina in scoring, rebounding and other key statistics.
The Tar Heels will undoubtedly be deep next season. Roy Williams will be able to play at least nine players without seeing much of a drop-off in production.
With that being said, scoring will mainly come from the stars, especially those on the frontline:
- Harrison Barnes: 17.8 PPG
- Tyler Zeller: 16.5 PPG
- John Henson: 13.2 PPG
At 42.5 RPG last season, North Carolina led the nation in rebounding.
That stat could easily be replicated again this season with the big men returning:
- John Henson: 10.8 RPG
- Tyler Zeller: 7.1 RPG
- Harrison Barnes: 5.4 RPG
The Tar Heels are poised to put up a lot of points in 2011-2012. Aside from Barnes, most of the Tar Heels aren't especially good at creating their own shots.
Expect the assist numbers to be high because of that. Point guard Kendall Marshall could lead the ACC, perhaps even the nation, in assists:
- Kendall Marshall: 7.3 APG
- Dexter Strickland: 3.8 APG
- Harrison Barnes: 3.2 APG
The Tar Heels aren't particularly adept at taking the ball away from opponents, as they ranked 205th in the nation last year with 6.12 steals per game.
There isn't a true lock-down defender on the North Carolina roster, but they could see solid steal numbers from a few different players:
- Dexter Strickland: 1.4 SPG
- Kendall Marshall: 1.2 SPG
- John Henson: 0.8 SPG
North Carolina ranked 20th in blocks per game last season, and the size will be there again in 2011-2012. Henson is perhaps the best shot-blocker in the nation, and Zeller isn't too far behind.
Along with the two returning big men, incoming freshman Desmond Hubert could alter countless shots next season. At 6'9", he is a very athletic young man who thrives on the defensive end of the court:
- John Henson: 3.4 BPG
- Tyler Zeller: 1.5 BPG
- Desmond Hubert: 0.9 BPG
The Tar Heels will have a beautiful equilibrium next year, playing equally as often in the post as on the perimeter.
Down low, Zeller is one of the nation's most efficient scorers. Freshman James McAdoo will be an effective scorer in the minutes he gets, which will depend on how he plays:
- Tyler Zeller: 55.7 percent
- James McAdoo: 52.3 percent
- John Henson: 50.4 percent
Last season, UNC didn't have any snipers. The best three-point shooter on the roster by percentage was Leslie McDonald, who shot at a 38.1 percent clip.
Incoming freshman P.J. Hairston will change the nature of North Carolina's offense as a threat from beyond the arc. At 6'5", he will be able to get his shot off over most two-guards in the nation:
- P.J. Hairston: 43.8 percent
- Leslie McDonald: 39.1 percent
- Harrison Barnes: 38.6 percent
Free-throw shooting was not UNC's biggest strength last season.
In fact, they shot just 67.2 percent as a team from the charity stripe. That number should improve next season if the Tar Heels want to make noise in March:
- Tyler Zeller: 80.6 percent
- P.J. Hairston: 78.5 percent
- Leslie McDonald: 76.3 percent
Yes, North Carolina will have incredible success next season.
If they want to be special though, these three stats will have to improve:
- Harrison Barnes: 42.3 percent Field-Goal Shooting
- John Henson: 47.9 percent Free-Throw Shooting
- Kendall Marshall: 2.5 Turnovers Per Game