- North Carolina has landed Cole Anthony, the number two recruit in the nation
- UNC’s March Madness Odds have improved, but they’re still much longer than Duke, Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan State
- Should the Tarheels’ odds be on par with the top contenders?
North Carolina has hit the jackpot. On Tuesday, they landed Cole Anthony, the number two recruit in the nation. His arrival to Chapel Hill solidifies the Tar Heels as one of the premier teams in college basketball next season.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 23, 2019
Despite the huge get, UNC’s average odds to win March Madness in 2020 are still roughly twice as long as the top contenders. Should they be?
Odds to win 2020 NCAA Tournament
|Team||2020 NCAA March Madness Odds|
|Duke Blue Devils||+600|
|Michigan State Spartans||+800|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||+1400|
*Odds taken on 04/24/19
Prior to Anthony’s announcement, the Tarheels 2020 outlook was bleak. Shortly after his commitment, North Carolina also landed four-star recruit Anthony Harris and the duo will now be leaned on to keep UNC in the National Championship conversation.
Anthony Will Be Thrust into the Spotlight
Anthony is widely regarded as the best guard in this year’s recruiting class and he’ll need to be as good as advertised to make up for all the scoring that’s leaving North Carolina.
UNC is losing its top five scorers from last season, and Anthony will be expected to shoulder the offensive load.
Cole Anthony was a walking triple-double at Oak Hill.
He'll be looking to do more of the same at UNC 💪 pic.twitter.com/1zOQi5LTlr
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 23, 2019
Fortunately for Tar Heel nation, he has the skillset to do so. He was incredibly productive on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, and won a gold medal for the USA at the FIBA Americas U18 championships in 2018.
Cole Anthony commits to North Carolina!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 23, 2019
He has the ability to excel in the half-court game and in transition, while also possessing the explosiveness to finish at the rim.
The adjustment to the collegiate game may take some time, but by season’s end, he should be leading the Tar Heels in most significant offensive categories.
How the Rest of the Contenders Are Shaping Up
UNC’s primary challengers in the ACC will once again be Virginia and Duke, with both teams checking in inside the preseason top-10 rankings.
Duke is reloading with its fourth straight number-one recruiting class, highlighted by five players ranked inside ESPN’s top-40 recruits.
Duke's recruiting class after Cassius Stanley's commitment 😳 pic.twitter.com/6TTduRH8fZ
— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 22, 2019
They’ll surely miss Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, but Tre Jones is returning and next year’s team will feature a crop of sharp shooters, something they sorely missed last season.
Virginia, meanwhile, is potentially losing four key components from their National Championship team, including the tournament’s most outstanding player.
Virginia’s Kyle Guy declares for the 2019 NBA draft after a dominant NCAA tournament run. pic.twitter.com/OrUbHxrkJj
— Bleacher Report CBB (@br_CBB) April 16, 2019
While the loss of talent stings, Kihei Clark will be back to run the point and the Cavaliers program has proven it can rebuild quickly.
Outside the ACC, Cassius Winston will be back for Michigan State, and even though they’re losing a few pieces, they return by far the most experience among the contenders. Tom Izzo will have a veteran team that will be dangerous again next season.
Cassius Winston makes it official: He will return to Michigan State. Makes the Spartans Final Four and national title contenders.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 19, 2019
As for Kentucky, they’re losing four players to the NBA draft, and John Calipari is still looking to add to a roster that is bringing in three top-33 recruits.
Pass on UNC for Now
While the Tar Heels should be priced closer to the top contenders, it’s more of a case of the big programs being overvalued as opposed to North Carolina being undervalued.
UNC is still in the mix land five-star recruit Precious Achiuwa and graduate transfers Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce. I’d wait to wager on them until their final destinations are known.
If they were able to land one or two of those names to help shoulder the offensive burden, I’d feel much stronger about their championship potential and would strongly consider backing them.
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