By R.L. Bynum
The only teams ahead of Carolina in the preseason men’s basketball AP Top 25 to lose did so against top 10 teams, but the Tar Heels still moved up a slot to No. 18 in the latest poll thanks to a lackluster Ohio State win.
UNC (2–0), No. 19 in the preseason poll, fought to hold off Brown of the Ivy League 94–87 on Friday after it beat Loyola Maryland 83–67 in the opener.
Ohio State (2–0) fell from No. 17 to No. 19 after it needed a late basket to win a home game Tuesday against Akron 67–66.
Villanova (which was No. 4 and is now No. 5) lost an epic 86–77 overtime game at No. 2 UCLA, Texas (which was No. 5 and is now No. 8) fell at No. 1 Gonzaga 86–74 and Kentucky (which was No. 10 and is now No. 13) dropped a 79–71 decision in New York against Duke, which moved up from No. 9 to No. 7.
Ranking UNC the highest at No. 8 is Dave Borgas of the New Haven (Conn.) Register. Three AP voters didn’t rank the Tar Heels: Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star, David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News and Mike Rodak of AL.com in Birmingham, Ala.
Of the three North Carolina voters, Luke DeCock of The News & Observer had the Tar Heels the highest at No. 16. Lauren Brownlow of WRALSportsFan.com voted UNC No. 19 and Ethan Joyce of the Winston-Salem Journal had Carolina No. 22.
UNC and Duke are the only ranked ACC teams after Florida State and Virginia, both 1–1, lost.
Florida State, ranked No. 20 in the preseason poll, suffered a 71–55 road loss at unranked Florida. The Gators, who scrimmaged UNC before the season, are now No. 24 after also beating Elon.
Virginia, No. 25 in the preseason poll, lost 66–58 at home Tuesday to Navy.
After Carolina’s 8:30 Tuesday night game at College of Charleston (CBS Sports Network), the Tar Heels will get a chance to impress poll voters and possibly move up higher at the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic in Uncasville, Conn.
They meet No. 6 Purdue at 4 p.m. Saturday (ESPN News), then either Villanova or No. 17 Tennessee at either 1 or 3:30 p.m. Sunday (ABC or ESPN).
UNC has scored at least 83 points in its first two games for the first time since the 2017–18 season and the Tar Heels are 2–0 for the 17th consecutive season.
College of Charleston is 3–0 with wins over South Carolina State, Lipscomb and Loyola Maryland (79–72). UNC is 5–3 all-time against the Cougars, beating them 79–60 in the season opener for both teams last season.
Caleb Love leads UNC in scoring through two games with a 17.5 average, followed by Brady Manek at 17.0, RJ Davis at 16.0 and Armando Bacot at 15.0.
Bacot leads the team in shooting (13 of 16 shots for 81.3%), rebounding (8.0 average) and blocks (4).
Manek, Davis, Walton and Leaky Black are all shooting 50% from the floor. Davis has made 7 of 11 3-point attempts for 63.6% and has a team-high 11 assists.
UNC’s defense was so bad against Brown that the coaching staff didn’t name a defensive player of the game after Black won the honor for the Loyola Maryland game.
AP Top 25
Others receiving votes: Virginia Tech 50, Indiana 35, Texas Tech 27, BYU 26, Michigan State 18, Arizona 15, Florida State 15, Colorado State 15, Iowa 13, Syracuse 12, Xavier 12, Oklahoma State 10, Seton Hall 7, Rutgers 7, Mississippi State 6, St. John’s 4, LSU 3, Drake 3, Virginia 2, Furman 2, Loyola Chicago 1, Ohio 1. (Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first place votes.)
UNC season statistics
|Date||Scores, record/day, time, TV||Location||Opponent|
|5||83–55 exhibition win||Home||Elizabeth City State|
|9||83–67 win||Home||Loyola Maryland|
|12||94–87 win, 2–0||Home||Brown|
|16||Tuesday, 8:30, CBSSN||Road||College of Charleston|
|20||Saturday, 4, ESPN News||Uncasville, Conn.||Y — No. 6 Purdue|
|21||Sunday, 1 or 3:30, ABC or ESPN||Uncasville, Conn.||Y — No. 17 Tennessee or |
No. 5 Villanova
|23||Tuesday, 7, RSN||Home||UNC Asheville|
|1||Wednesday, 9:15, ESPN||Home||X — No. 4 Michigan|
|5||Sunday, 3, ESPN||Road||Georgia Tech|
|11||Saturday, 8, ACCN||Home||Elon|
|14||Tuesday, 7, ESPN2||Home||Furman|
|18||Saturday, 3, CBS||Las Vegas||Z — No. 2 UCLA|
|21||Tuesday, 7, ACCN||Home||Appalachian State|
|29||Wednesday, 7, ESPN2||Home||Virginia Tech|
|1||Saturday, noon, ACCN||Road||Boston College|
|5||Wednesday, 9, ESPN2||Road||Notre Dame|
|8||Saturday, 1, ESPN||Home||Virginia|
|15||Saturday, 8, ACCN||Home||Georgia Tech|
|18||Tuesday, TBA, ESPN||Road||Miami|
|22||Saturday, 8, ACCN||Road||Wake Forest|
|26||Wednesday, RSN||Home||Boston College|
|29||Saturday, 2, ACCN||Home||N.C. State|
|31||Monday, 7, ESPN||Road||Louisville|
|5||Saturday, 6, ESPN||Home||No. 7 Duke|
|8||Tuesday, 9, ESPN or ESPN2||Road||Clemson|
|12||Saturday, 2, ESPN or ESPN2||Home||Florida State|
|16||Wednesday, 8, ACCN||Home||Pittsburgh|
|19||Saturday, 4, ESPN or ESPN2||Road||Virginia Tech|
|21||Monday, 7, ESPN||Home||Louisville|
|26||Saturday, 2 or 4, ESPN or ESPN2||Road||N.C. State|
|28||Monday, 7, ESPN||Home||Syracuse|
|5||Saturday, 6, ESPN||Road||No. 7 Duke|
Photo via @UNC_Basketball