UNC Basketball: Tar Heels in need of victory to get off 8/9 line?

Is the UNC basketball program still on a collision course with a 1-seed in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament?

The North Carolina Tar Heels advanced to the ACC Tournament’s semifinal round on Thursday night with an impressive victory over the Virginia Cavaliers, their second of the season against Tony Bennett’s struggling squad and the 24th in head coach Hubert Davis’ first season at the helm in Chapel Hill.

Now, with a much healthier postseason resume and safety in the NCAA Tournament’s field of 68 come Selection Sunday, the Tar Heels are trying to build on their current projected positioning in the big dance.

And the next North Carolina win — or loss — could be a big one.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi still has the Tar Heels on that dreaded 8/9 seed line following their quarterfinal blowout of the Cavaliers, and it looks like it may take one more victory for them to jump up to the historically safer 7-line. The latter would still put them in a likely collision course with a 2-seed in the tournament’s first weekend, but it would at least keep them away from the top seed in their bracket. At present, that top seed would be the 29-3 Arizona Wildcats.

While some UNC fans might like to roll the dice a little more than me or cling to the team’s past success as an 8-seed, I’d much rather see them step off that line and into a spot where they wouldn’t have to face a 1-seed until the Regional Final.

It’s my belief that an ACC Tournament semifinal win over the Virginia Tech Hokies would do just that, even if they were to lose the following night in the conference championship game. On the other hand, a title-game victory over the winner of the Duke/Miami game could catapult the Tar Heels into a very favorable position come NCAA Tournament time.

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