Prediction: by the end of the first week of December, UNC will no longer be #1 in the major media polls.
No way, there’s too much pressure and they have too many good teams to handle before we even get our advent calendars. Oh, and did you hear, a small piece of their offense will be out for a while with a stress reaction? Even if this substantial piece never misses a game, which is extremely unlikely, he’s going to miss practice and be out of ‘game shape’ for a while. And no, we’re not talking about Marcus Ginyard, but his loss hurts too.
Here’s Carolina’s early schedule – you tell us how they’re going to come out of this unscathed…
- v. Penn (11.15.08) – easy enough at home, right?
- v. Kentucky (11.18.08) – this home game suddenly becomes extremely interesting if TH is out or still ailing – Patrick Patterson will wipe up the inside.
- @ UCSB (11.21.08) – UNC fans will remember the west coast stopover game before Maui in 2004-05 well. Trap game.
- @ Chaminade (11.24.08) – Maui Invitational first round – easy W.
- v. Alabama (probably) (11.25.08) – UNC should be careful to not sleep on an athletic Bama team, but will probably win regardless.
- v. Notre Dame/Texas (probably) (11.26.08) – either of these teams could defeat a less-than-full-strength UNC in Maui.
- v. UNC-Asheville (11.30.08) – easy home win.
- @ Michigan St. (Detroit) (12.03.08) – 40,000 people could watch this game at Ford Field, and UNC will absolutely need to be at full strength to win this game vs. MSU.
There are at least three opportunities for the major upset here, and if Hansbrough and/or Ginyard are out for any of those games, go ahead and mark it down. UNC will not enter the second week of December #1 and unbeaten.
Now, on to the polls, where UNC was a unanimous #1 in the AP Poll for the first time EVER (nope, not even 1991 UNLV, 1992 Duke or 2007 Florida), and also unanimous in the Coach’s Poll. No pressure or anything… FYI – UNC has been preseason #1 six times in its history (incl. this year) – the results of those seasons are: 1982 (Natl. Champs), 1984 (S16), 1987 (E8), 1994 (R32), 2008 (F4) – all that’s missing is a first-round loss or a title game loss.
Here are the polls.
We plan on doing some broader-based analytics of preseason polls in a general sense next week, but for now, here are a few things that we noticed right away.
- Biggest jumps from AP to Coaches – Georgetown (+4) and Duke (+3)
- Biggest drops from AP to Coaches – USC (-3) and Wake Forest (-3)
- Coaches tend to vote by available talent + belief in other coaches’ abilities – what does this say about Tim Floyd and Dino Gaudio in relation to JT3 and Coach K?
- Overrated – UConn, Duke, Oklahoma, USC
- Underrated – Wisconsin, Florida, Georgetown, Gonzaga
- All 25 teams in both polls are duplicates, but it’s interesting that Xavier was #26 in the AP vs. #30 in the Coaches.
- We’re a little surprised to not see St. Mary’s and Baylor ranked over teams like Villanova and Kansas, but whatever, that’s their poll, not ours.
- Alabama gets 16 AP votes but a donut in the Coaches – Mark Gottfried, much? And LSU is getting too much love for simply getting a new coach.
- Conference Breakdown – Big East (7 + 2 others receiving votes); ACC (4), Big 10 (3), Big 12 (3), Pac-10 (3), SEC (2), CUSA (1), SoCon (1), WCC (1).