Potential lineup options for the Tar Heels in 2022-23


The UNC basketball program heads into 2022 as the No. 1 overall team in the country by numerous national projections. It is fresh off a National Runner-up appearance and returns four starters – RJ Davis, Caleb Love, Leaky Black and Armando Bacot – and its two key bench members from last year – Puff Johnson and Dontrez Styles.

The Tar Heels also add in a solid recruiting class and bring in Northwestern transfer Pete Nance — looking to replace the role of Brady Manek.

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Overall, North Carolina should be a deeper team this season and by all accounts Hubert Davis wants them to be. Whether it’s in the backcourt, wing or front court, there seems to be additional pieces that the roster didn’t have a season ago.

Here is a look at some of the potential lineups for UNC this season.

Mar 25, 2022; Philadelphia, PA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) and guard Leaky Black (1) and forward Armando Bacot (5) and guard RJ Davis (4) celebrate in the second half against the UCLA Bruins in the semifinals of the East regional of the men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

G- RJ Davis

G- Caleb Love

F- Leaky Black

F- Pete Nance

F- Armando Bacot

There shouldn’t be any discussion about this one. The Tar Heels return four starters from last year and bring in grad transfer Pete Nance from Northwestern, who averaged 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season.

Apr 4, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) and teammates react after guard Puff Johnson (14) sustained an apparent injury in a play against the Kansas Jayhawks during the second half during the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four championship game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

G- RJ Davis

G- Caleb Love

F- Puff Johnson

F- Leaky Black

F- Pete Nance

This is an interesting potential lineup that the Tar Heels could toss out there. You have shooting from the backcourt and wing with Puff Johnson. Nance can also stretch the floor. You do lack a bit of defensive stopper in the paint, however.

Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) shoots the ball against Duke Blue Devils center Mark Williams (15) during the second half in the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four semifinals at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

G- RJ Davis

G- Caleb Love

F- Seth Trimble

F- Puff Johnson

F- Pete Nance

While Trimble isn’t a terrific shooter, having another player who can create off the dribble and open up the lane for drive and kick opportunities makes it difficult on the defense to stop this lineup. Nance is also a career 35.6 percent three-point shooter.

Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward AJ Griffin (21) controls the ball against North Carolina Tar Heels forward Leaky Black (1) during the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four semifinals at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

G- Caleb Love

G- Seth Trimble

F- Dontrez Styles

F- Leaky Black

C- Armando Bacot

I like both RJ Davis and Caleb Love here, but when Love locks in, he is a very good on ball defender. With Trimble off the ball, you have a terrific defensive backcourt with that duo. Having Styles in there is for switching opportunities and his ability to impact the play on a weak side level.

Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Puff Johnson (14) celebrates with guard Dontrez Styles (3) after beating the Duke Blue Devils in the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four semifinals at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

G- Caleb Love

G- Puff Johnson

F- Dontrez Styles

F- Leaky Black

F- Pete Nance

This is one filled with athletes, length and athleticism. You have three players in Johnson, Styles and Black who can switch anything defensively. You have athleticism to get out on the break. This may not see the floor too much, but could be a fun one at times to give Bacot a few extra minutes of rest.

Mar 25, 2022; Philadelphia, PA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) celebrates after the North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the UCLA Bruins in the semifinals of the East regional of the men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

G- RJ Davis

G- Caleb Love

F- Puff Johnson

F- Leaky Black

F- Armando Bacot

This could go either way. I think you can see both Johnson and Nance in this lineup depending on the opponent. But, I think Johnson provides some additional playmaking and versatility on the ball. Biggest thing with him will be his consistent defensive ability. I don’t think you can go wrong with either, here.

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