- C.L. Brown, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Tar Heels were picked to finish third in the ACC behind Duke and Syracuse by a media poll. The league's depth this season should make it so that wins and losses will be as hard as ever to predict. With that in mind, here are advantages and disadvantages for the Heels against each of their league opponents:
Advantage: The Heels should again enjoy a big rebounding edge over the Eagles.
Disadvantage: Stopping guard Olivier Hanlan (the ACC’s 2013 Freshman of the Year) will be a challenge.
Advantage: Um, history? The only meeting is in Chapel Hill, where it’s Heels 56, Tigers 0.
Disadvantage: Complacency knowing their undefeated record vs. Clemson at home.
Advantage: Frontcourt should dominate Blue Devils’ glaring weakness in the paint.
Advantage: P.J. Hairston has averaged 18.2 points in four career games vs. the Noles.
Disadvantage: No. 3 Heels lost by 33 at unranked FSU in 2012 -- anything can happen in Tallahassee.
Advantage: James Michael McAdoo stung the Jackets with an 18-point, 10-rebound average last season.
Disadvantage: Tennessee transfer Trae Golden adds experience to a talented young lineup.
Advantage: Avoiding final trip to College Park during the Terps’ year-long ACC swan song.
Disadvantage: Terps will likely be more motivated to win in their final shot at UNC.
Advantage: The Canes are starting from scratch with a completely overhauled roster.
Disadvantage: Unknown commodities can be hard to prepare against.
Advantage: State will have fewer offensive weapons to defend than last season.
Disadvantage: T.J. Warren (14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds per game vs. Heels last season) is still one of them.
Advantage: McAdoo presents matchup problem for the Irish frontcourt.
Disadvantage: South Bend is poised to become one of the most difficult places to play in the ACC.
Advantage: UNC can use its fast pace to bury a team not known for running.
Disadvantage: The Heels typically encounter trouble against teams as physical as Pitt.
Advantage: The starting lineups are about even, so deeper Heels bench could be key to beating Orange.
Disadvantage: The length of the Cuse zone is hard to play against the first time.
Advantage: Marcus Paige, who enjoyed a 17-point breakout game vs. Cavs last season, should own the point guard matchup.
Disadvantage: Joe Harris is a problem. He shot 70 percent from the field and averaged 23 points in two meetings last season.
Advantage: Young Hokies still don’t have an abundance of talent (or the defense) to compete at a high level.
Disadvantage: Two of Tech’s three wins vs. Heels since joining the ACC came in Blacksburg, the site of their only meeting this season.
Advantage: The Heels have won seven of the last nine meetings with Deacs by an average margin of 20 points.
The Tar Heels were picked to finish third in the ACC behind Duke and Syracuse by a media poll. The league's depth this season should make it so that wins and losses will be as hard as ever to predict.