I grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. From the time my family moved to Chapel Hill when I was three until we moved again when I was 14, I attended almost every University of North Carolina home basketball game. UNC basketball is my “religious views” on Facebook.
You could say I’m obsessed, but that would be an understatement. While abroad in South Africa last semester I woke up at 4 a.m. in early February to watch UNC dismantle Duke, wearing a Carolina blue sweater I borrowed from a housemate. I am unapologetically biased. However, after the awe-inspiring performance of last year’s Tar Heels, with Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, and Tyler “I would have fit in much better at Duke” Hansbrough leading UNC to its fifth NCAA Championship, it is clear to everyone that Carolina is the greatest team ever, sure never to lose again.
Despite this evidence, those silly writers who vote for the AP poll did not rank the defending champions No. 1 this preseason. As such, I’m going to discuss the five teams ranked above the almighty Tar Heels in the poll, and explain why none of these teams belong on the same court as my beloved UNC.
1. Kansas:As the best team in college basketball proved last year, veteran leadership is important to winning the National Championship. Junior center Cole Aldrich and senior guard Sherron Collins give Kansas this presence, and the addition of freshman Xavier Henry only makes this team more dangerous. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, UNC is set to dispel the myth that you need veterans to win in March this year, as their underclassman-heavy rotation will be cutting down the nets again in April.
Why UNC is better: We took your longtime coach, and then he started winning. Roy Williams was simply saving all of his championships for his alma mater. Sure Kansas beat us in the Final Four two years ago, but that was only because UNC thought they had been transported back to kindergarten, and took a collective nap for the first 15 minutes.
2. Michigan State:Another team that returns much of its core from a successful year. The Spartans made it to the Championship game last year, and they return junior Kalin Lucas and senior Raymar Morgan. Tom Izzo, one of the most successful coaches in recent decades, is sure to get the most out of his squad.
Why UNC is better: I didn’t get to see the championship game when it happened, but fortunately my dad thought it would be a good idea to DVR the game just in case I wanted to watch it two months later when I got home. I did watch that game—crazy is genetic—and UNC dominated. Also, the Spartans play in the Big Ten. Most of those teams would lose to WNBA bottom-feeders. Why is this a discussion?
3. Kentucky:John Calipari brings his sleazy coaching and recruiting up to Lexington. After the failed Billy Gillespie experiment, people in Kentucky will have no patience for losing. A star-studded freshman class should lead the Wildcats back into prominence. John Wall leads the way as another hyper-athletic Derrick Rose-type who is sure to stay all four years.
Why UNC is better: Although Kentucky is one of the few schools that can compete with UNC in terms of tradition, fortunately Coach Cal is sure to soil that legacy. This one gets settled every year on the court, with UNC dominating recently, of course. These teams square off Dec. 5 in Lexington. The domination will continue.
4. Texas:The ranking for Texas and Kentucky demonstrate the respect that the power structure of college basketball gives to one-year wonders. The Longhorns picked up this year’s number one recruit according to ESPN, Avery Bradley, who comes in to create a one-two punch with senior Damion James.
Why UNC is better: Roy Williams vs. Rick Barnes is like Jet Li vs. anonymous minion. Barnes can’t get it done when the heat is on in March. The only reason Texas is ranked ahead of UNC in preseason polls is because of the well-known Midwest media bias. Those damn liberals!!
5. Villanova:The Big East’s preseason championship contender in a seeming down year for the nation’s most loaded conference. The Wildcats return senior Scottie Reynolds, who is expected to lead the way coming off a Final Four appearance.
Why UNC is better: UNC beat Villanova in the Final Four last year, another game I didn’t get to see. Recorded by dad? Check. Watched? Absolutely. Villanova doesn’t have the depth to compete with the Heels. In fact, I hope we play them in March. Seems like every time we see them in the tournament, we go on to win it all.