Updating UNC Basketball’s Tournament Resume


So, the UNC basketball team managed to just snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, finding a way to lose by ten to Louisville after being up by as many as eighteen in the second half.  This game was probably the most frustrating game I’ve seen since Carolina blew a similarly large lead against Duke in 2012.  But, even as much as that game made me want to throw my remote through the TV, Carolina still has a very solid tournament resume and is still likely to get a relatively decent seed.

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Cincy on the Prowl

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    Like I said in my last article, Carolina has no shortage of key wins.  They have already beaten four other top-25 teams, most notably 5th ranked Louisville the first time the teams played this year.  Carolina will likely pick up a few more wins over ranked opponents, as four of their final ten opponents are currently in the top-25.  That being said, this loss Saturday hurts Carolina.  A lot.  They were well on their way to picking up a 5th win over a ranked opponent, and it looked like they would do it in blowout fashion.  But the dismal second half in which the Heels seemed unfocused and overly relaxed cost Carolina the victory.  If they’d won, they would have been 5-2 against ranked opponents, on a 7 game win streak and 8-1 (and in 2nd place) in the ACC.  But they didn’t.

    Carolina’s loss Saturday, along with surprising losses to Butler and Iowa suggests a lack of consistency.  The NCAA Selection Committee generally looks favorably on teams who win the games they are supposed to win and play consistent basketball for most of the year.  Unfortunately, that has not been Carolina this year, as they have been streaky this year.  While an overtime loss to a top-ten team is not going to hurt Carolina too much, they did lose a great opportunity to show that they have put their inconsistencies behind them and are a different team than the one that lost those two early season games.

    As far as the other two games Carolina has played since my last article, I don’t think either will significantly affect Carolina’s seed in the NCAA Tournament.  While Carolina probably should have beaten Florida State and Syracuse by more than they did (four and ten points respectively), Carolina did prevail, which is what was expected.  Carolina didn’t play great, especially when they turned the ball over twenty times against Syracuse, but they found a way to win.

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    I think, because of Carolina’s loss Saturday, the Heels are looking at a 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  I could still see Carolina getting a 2 seed, but probably only if they go deep into the ACC Tournament and play well the rest of the regular season.  If Carolina can win eight games the rest of the way (which is entirely possible), then that would leave them with a very respectable 25-7 record.  Not one-or two-seed material, but certainly no longer than a 4 seed, assuming that the Heels don’t get upset early in the ACC Tournament.  I think that this is the most likely scenario given the way that Carolina has played this year.  Overall, the last week hasn’t significantly changed where I think Carolina will end up, but Saturday’s loss likely put a ceiling on how high they could be ranked in the NCAA tournament.