By R.L. Bynum
As basketball season gets closer, the anticipation grows for Tar Heels fans, with the expectations high for Carolina’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Bracket projections in October are, of course, ridiculous, but ESPN’s projections that came out Tuesday confirm that national observers think highly of both teams.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects Coach Hubert Davis’ men’s team to be the No. 1 seed in the East Regional and play the first two rounds in Greensboro. ESPN’s Charlie Creme sees Coach Courtney Banghart’s women’s team as the No. 3 seed in one of the two regionals in Seattle and playing the first two rounds at Carmichael Arena.
Fans will be able to check out both teams at Live Action with Carolina Basketball at 7:30 Friday night at the Smith Center (ACC Network Extra/ESPN3).
The men’s team went 29–10 last season and made the NCAA championship game. UNC finished the season No. 2 in the final coaches poll and is expected to be at or near the top of preseason polls.
The women’s team made the Sweet 16 last season and finished 25–7, falling to eventual national champion South Carolina in the Gamecocks’ toughest NCAA tournament game. Carolina’s women are also expected to be highly ranked in the preseason polls.
ESPN’s other three No. 1 men’s seeds are Gonzaga, Kentucky and Houston. The highest projected seed of any other ACC team is Duke at No. 3 in the Midwest Regional, followed by Virginia as a No. 4 in the South Regional, Miami as a No. 8 in the West, Virginia Tech as a No. 9 in the Midwest and Florida State as a No. 12 in the First Four.
Carolina’s women are projected to be tied for the second-highest ACC seed behind Notre Dame, which Creme sees as a No. 2 in one of the Greenville, S.C., regionals. Louisville is also projected to be a No. 3 in a separate Greenville Regional.
In the women’s tournament this season, two regionals will be played in Seattle and two in Greenville.
Other ACC teams in the women’s projection are N.C. State as a No. 4 in one of the Greenville regionals, Virginia Tech as a No. 4 in one of the Seattle regionals, Duke as a No. 8 in one of the Greenville regionals and Miami as a No. 12 in the First Four.
Photo via @UNC_Basketball