The North Carolina Tar Heels are currently holding a 19-8 overall record, which includes a 9-5 record for their ACC games. Although they are not ranked nationally, it is expected that they will make the NCAA Tournament field of 65. The real question should be , “How far can Carolina go in March Madness?” This question will be answered in another column. For now, let’s focus on what UNC’s seeding will be and why.
According to ESPN, North Carolina is ranked 38th on the Basketball Power Index (BPI). The BPI represents an analytical tool that accounts for the varying pace that a team plays. It also considers a team missing an important player. ESPN projects North Carolina as a 10th seed. The current projected 7th seeds consist of the San Diego State Aztecs, the Colorado State Rams, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (Carolina defeated this team during the regular season) and the Saint Louis Billikens. All of these teams match up with Carolina fairly well. Carolina could face a really, good team in the field of 64 round come mid-March, but if they continue playing as they have been, they should be in good shape to at least win the early game.
Although these projections are based on today’s findings, they could possibly change based on how Carolina fares in the last four games of their regular season schedule and the ACC Tournament. If this becomes true for Carolina, then a 10th seed will be the lowest seed that the Tar Heels have ever received in the NCAA Tournament. In Bill Gutheridge‘s last season as UNC’s head coach, he guided his young team to a Final Four in 2000. Carolina was an eighth seed.
North Carolina’s current Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) ranking is 21. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and his colleagues update this information daily. The RPI rating system trumps the BPI. The only thing that is suspect about the RPI is that it does not account for the scores of games. Despite this, the RPI is the biggest factor for teams receiving bids to the NCAA from the selection committee. Based on these findings, the North Carolina Tar Heels should expect to be seeded somewhere between six and nine. The selection committee may be a little generous since the name, North Carolina, has a great deal of clout in college basketball circles.