Selection Sunday is a little over 3 weeks away, so every game between now and then could have tournament implications. With their current 10 game winning streak, the #19 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels have silenced the noise about possibly missing the big dance and they’ve changed the conversation to what will their seed be and where will they play.
According to ESPN’s tournament guru Joe Lunardi, Carolina is a 5 seed in the west region in his latest bracketology. I don’t claim to be a bracketologist but when I combine the Tar Heels resume with the eye test, they look like a 3 or 4 seed to me. These guys are 11-4 in the tough ACC and no team in the country has the non-conference wins that they do in my opinion. So I believe UNC will be seeded no lower than a 5, even with losses to the likes of Belmont, UAB and Miami.
With 3 games remaining in the regular season and the ACC tournament after that, Carolina still has chances to impress the selection committee and improve their eventual seed. The regular season finale is at Duke and barring an upset, the Heels should get another shot at Virginia or Syracuse in Greensboro. If Roy’s boys can get another signature “W” or win the conference tournament, a short bus ride to Raleigh may be on the menu come the NCAA’s.
Six weeks ago there was no shot that UNC would even be considered to play near home in the big dance. Don’t look now but they’ve won in 10 in a row and the possibility is oh so real. If the Tar Heels are seeded high enough where they can play in Raleigh – the rest of that region had better watch out. Playing NCAA Tournament games in PNC Arena would be huge for Carolina and the faithful. With a huge crowd advantage, UNC will be tough to beat and a couple of wins there could set this team up for a run to Dallas. Yeah I said it , the Final Four.
From the beginning of the season I thought this squad had a chance to reach the Final Four. But when star player P.J. Hairston was not allowed to rejoin the team, those dreams went up in smoke. Call me crazy but the 360 is complete and I truly believe that this much maligned bunch of Tar Heels can get to the Final Four. There is no dominant team this year, so why can’t UNC make a run to Dallas? Detractors would say free throw shooting first and foremost. I agree they have to get better for the charity strike, but of late Carolina has made free throws when they have counted the most and I suspect that will continue. With Marcus Paige doing his thing and the rest of the guys getting better, sky’s the limit for this team.
When it’s all said and done, I believe the Tar Heels will be a 4 seed and one of the most dangerous teams in the country. I’m not saying they’ll be a favorite or it’s even likely but don’t be surprised if UNC ends up in Dallas!