Two big wins aren’t enough to return UNC to either poll

By R.L. Bynum

Coach Hubert Davis talked about North Carolina’s win Sunday being validating but not enough AP poll voters are convinced.

The Tar Heels are unranked for the third consecutive week even after a 72–51 home victory Wednesday over then-No. 24 (and now unranked) Michigan and a 79–62 win Sunday at Georgia Tech in their ACC opener. UNC got the 29th-most poll points.

UNC was No. 19 in the preseason poll and was No. 18 before the Tar Heels lost at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament to Purdue and Tennessee to fall out of the poll.

It turns out that the 93–84 loss to the Boilermakers will go down as a “good loss” considering that they’ve taken over as the No. 1 team for the first time in school history. They supplanted Duke, which fell to No. 3 after losing last week at Ohio State.

Two of the three North Carolina-based voters had the Tar Heels on their ballots. Lauren Brownlow of voted them No. 21 and Ethan Joyce of the Winston-Salem Journal voted them No. 22. Luke DeCock of The News & Observer didn’t rank UNC on his ballot.

Carolina is unranked, with the 36th-most poll points, in the coaches poll.

Davis preached that the Michigan game needed to be validated with a victory over Georgia Tech.

“We played very well, but it didn’t mean anything if we didn’t show up and play well again [Sunday],” Davis said. “A lot of people came up after Wednesday’s game and they said, ‘Well, that was that was Carolina basketball.’ That was a Carolina win. And I said Carolina basketball was showing up on Sunday. I gave them the definition of validation in terms of proving.


“I say prove to yourself, prove to this program, prove to people that the way that you play defense and the energy and effort and the way that you shared a basketball on Wednesday night wasn’t a one-night thing, that this is this is who we are,” Davis said. “This is our team. And I just kept talking to them about that throughout the week and I’m just really proud of their effort.”

In the updated NET rankings, Carolina is No. 39 and Duke is No. 49. This is one metric that the NCAA basketball committee uses when picking teams for the tournament and seeding teams. It’s hard to put a lot of stock in the rankings in December, though, with the highest among ACC teams Virginia at No. 20 and Florida State at No. 21.

In Bart Torvik’s ranking based on statistics, Duke is No. 11, with Virginia Tech No. 32 and UNC No. 34.

AP Top 25

Others receiving votes: Colorado State 90, Xavier 78, Illinois 71, North Carolina 55, St. Bonaventure 37, Oklahoma 29, Memphis 14, Iowa 12, Michigan 11, San Francisco 10, Loyola Chicago 4, Indiana 3, Texas Tech 2. (Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first-place votes.)

UNC season statistics

DateScore, record/day, time, TVLocationOpponent
November (4–2)
583–55 exhibition winHomeElizabeth City State
983–67 win, 1–0HomeLoyola Maryland
1294–87 win, 2–0HomeBrown
1694–83 win, 3–0RoadCollege of Charleston
2093–84 loss, 3–1Uncasville, Conn.Y — No. 1 Purdue
2189–72 loss, 3–2Uncasville, Conn.Y — No. 13 Tennessee
2372–53 win, 4–2HomeUNC Asheville
December (2–0)
172–51 win, 5–2HomeX — Michigan
579–62 win, 6–2, 1-0 ACCRoadGeorgia Tech
11Saturday, 8, ACCNHomeElon
14Tuesday, 7, ESPN2HomeFurman
18Saturday, 3, CBSLas VegasZ — No. 4 UCLA
21Tuesday, 7, ACCNHomeAppalachian State
29Wednesday, 7, ESPN2HomeVirginia Tech
1Saturday, noon, ACCNRoadBoston College
5Wednesday, 9, ESPN2RoadNotre Dame
8Saturday, 1, ESPNHomeVirginia
15Saturday, 8, ACCNHomeGeorgia Tech
18Tuesday, TBA, ESPNRoadMiami
22Saturday, 8, ACCNRoadWake Forest
26Wednesday, RSNHomeBoston College
29Saturday, 2, ACCNHomeN.C. State
31Monday, 7, ESPNRoadLouisville
5Saturday, 6, ESPNHomeNo. 3 Duke
8Tuesday, 9, ESPN or ESPN2RoadClemson
12Saturday, 2, ESPN or ESPN2HomeFlorida State
16Wednesday, 8, ACCNHomePittsburgh
19Saturday, 4, ESPN or ESPN2RoadVirginia Tech
21Monday, 7, ESPNHomeLouisville
26Saturday, 2 or 4, ESPN or ESPN2RoadN.C. State
28Monday, 7, ESPNHomeSyracuse
5Saturday, 6, ESPNRoadNo. 3 Duke
ACC TournamentBrooklyn
RSN — regional sports networks; ACCN — ACC Network; X — ACC/Big Ten Challenge;
Y — Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off; Z — CBS Sports Classic

Photo via @UNC_Basketball


  1. Tom Gawronski says:

    Just keep putting the work in. Keep up the great energy especially in defense. Keep others guessing where scoring will come from. Keep celebrating each other’s success. Keep a chip on your shoulder. The only poll that matters is the one at the end of the season.


  2. This goes to show you that Carolina is not treated fairly. It has been this way for years. They are held to a different standard.


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