UNC Basketball: The Best and Worst Case Scenarios on Selection Sunday


While it is yet to be seen what seed the Tar Heels will receive (especially since the ACC tournament isn’t over), the importance of Selection Sunday’s results cannot be stressed enough.  A good region for the Heels can make or break this season and it’s incredibly pertinent that we end up with a decent draw if we wish to make a championship run.  If we end up as a #2 seed and get placed with Kentucky, it’ll be a struggle to make it out of the region whereas if we pull a #1 seed and end up with someone like Michigan State, a familiar foe, or Ohio State, someone that we’d match up well with, a Final Four appearance may be something to expect.  Here’s a rundown of some of the ranked teams the Tar Heels would love to face and teams that we should be praying we don’t in the later rounds of the Big Dance.

Teams We Want:

Michigan State: Projected Seed (#2) This potential #1 seed lost its last two regular season games after having the regular season Big 10 Title in its pocket.  While Tom Izzo is very similar to Roy Williams in the fact that he is a “tournament coach,” historically (2009 Championship *cough cough*), UNC has handled MSU on the big stage.  Not to mention that both UNC and Duke beat Michigan State earlier in the season (for us, aboard the USS Carl Vinson).  We match up very well with Michigan State and have demonstrated that we can control the tempo of the game.  While it’s hard to use the November 11th game as an indicator–both teams are more mature and different than before–MSU has faltered as of late and put much of the burden on Draymond Green.  In terms of “big” teams, if Michigan State were the #2 seed to our #1 or the #1 to our #2, it’d be encouraging news for the Tar Heels.

Michigan: Projected Seed (#3) As much as I admire the Wolverines for their school history and tradition, I would be incredibly excited if they ended up as a #2 or #3 seed in the same region as the Tar Heels.  Michigan has pulled off some great feats as of late, including beating Ohio State at home to make the Big 10 Regular Season Title anyone’s for the taking.  That being said, they’ve struggled against ranked and ACC opponents. This is the same team that lost to UVA by 12 and Duke by 7.  It’s also worth noting that the Wolverines have not won a ranked game on the road this season with almost all of their big wins coming in Ann Arbor.  With a team that’s led by freshman Trey Burke, especially in a neutral environment, I have questions if Michigan could make it into the Sweet Sixteen, let alone out of the region.

Duke: Projected Seed: (#2) Yes, I said it. I want Duke in the tournament knowing full well the implications and consequences if we lose.  We’d get an entire off-season of annoying comments from Duke fans, mostly from people that don’t attend or have any affiliation with the school and I’d look back at this article and want to punch “past me” in the face.  With all of that being said, I don’t think we’d lose. I know that the Selection Committee wouldn’t dream of putting us in the same region, potentially as #1 and #2 seeds but any fan of either team can just imagine that game.  If UNC played Duke to get into the Final Four, I not only think we’d triumph, but it would wipe the Austin Rivers‘ buzzer beater from memory.  We’ve demonstrated that we are a changed team after the 8th and went into Cameron Indoor and took the ACC Regular Season Title right from them (and on Miles Plumlee’s Senior Night no less).  The only thing better would be sending them home in late March.

In the Final Four: Kentucky Wildcats: Projected Seed (#1) They are terrifying.  That’s the nicest way I can describe Kentucky.  They’re more reminiscent of the MonStars from Space Jam than they are college players.  More of an NBA farm team than an academic university, Callipari has put together arguably one of the most dominant young teams at the University of Kentucky, let alone the nation since the Fab 5 last played for Michigan.  They beat us earlier in the season, yes, but it was by 1 point on their home court. While both teams have matured since then, UNC has the maturity and tourney experience that they lack.   They haven’t faced much real competition outside of us this year and when they have, it’s been in Rupp Arena.  If we meet them in the Final Four, which has a decent chance of happening right now, we’ll be looking for revenge.  Do you know what’s awesome? Winning a title.  Know what’s even better? Winning the title and sending Callipari home.

Teams We Want To Avoid:

Indiana: Projected Seed: (#4) While it may be cool to see both Zellers play each other, I’d rather have it happen at their childhood home rather than on a national stage.  Indiana isn’t the greatest team in the world and has been cooling off since their lightning hot start this season.  They don’t have any big wins away from Indiana, but they’ve beaten three top 5 teams this year: something that makes them a groan waiting to happen if we see them in our region.  Indiana is streaky just like we are.  If they get hot in the Big 10 tournament, we need to look out. Especially if they wind up with us.

Missouri: Projected Seed: (#2) The last thing I want for the Tar Heels is being between Missouri and a match-up with Kansas in the Final Four.  The prospect of a Border War to end all Border Wars (literally, it’d be the last game since Mizzou is leaving the conference), is something every college basketball fan would love to see (including myself as long as it means we don’t get sent home).  Missouri is dangerous.  They’re a great team and had one of the most entertaining games of the season when they last played Kansas.  The only thing more threatening than a really good team is a really good team out for revenge and trying to reach the Final Four for the first time.

In the Final Four: Syracuse: Projected Seed (#1) Syracuse is big.  The Orange are dominant and like Kentucky, have only lost one game (as of now) this season.  UNC is known for our size and logistically, Cuse is one of the few teams that could match up with us.  While I’d never say that they’d win outright, it’d be a very contested game between our two schools.  Especially if Fab Melo is healthy and ready to go.  Every champion has that team that they got lucky in avoiding due to seeding.  If UNC has a legitimate shot, we should hope that Syracuse is that team.