UNC women jump to highest Top 25 rank in 7 years

By R.L. Bynum

Coming off two impressive victories to finish the regular season, North Carolina jumped two spots to No. 16 in the latest AP Top 25 women’s basketball poll.

It’s the highest ranking for the Tar Heels (23–5, 13–5 ACC), the No. 4 seed in this week’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro, since they were No. 15 for the final four polls of the 2014–15 season. That team finished 26–9 and lost to South Carolina in the Greensboro Regional semifinal.

WUNC’s Mitchell Northam, the only North Carolina-based voter, and David Cloninger of The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., voted UNC the highest at No. 10. Robert Cessna of the Bryan-College Station Eagle in Texas voted Carolina the lowest at No. 21.

Chantel Jennings of The Athletic, who was the only voter to leave the Tar Heels off their ballot last week, voted UNC No. 15.

Carolina, which won at Virginia 68–57 and at home against Duke 74–46, has a double-bye in the ACC Tournament for the first time since the event expanded to 15 teams in 2014. UNC opens with a quarterfinal game at 11 a.m. Friday (regional sports networks). The Tar Heels will meet the winner of Thursday’s 11 a.m. second-round game.

That contest matches No. 5-seed Virginia Tech (21–8, 13–5) against the winner of Wednesday’s 1 p.m. first-round game between No. 12-seed Syracuse (11–17, 4–14) and No. 13-seed Clemson (9–20, 3–15).

The Hokies are up two spots to No. 21 after beating Miami 70–63 and losing 64–65 Sunday to regular-season champion N.C. State (26–3, 17–1), which remained No. 3. That loss to the Wolfpack meant UNC got the double-bye instead of Virginia Tech.

After losing in overtime to Florida State but beating Wake Forest, Georgia Tech fell from No. 22 to No. 25. Louisville (25–3, 16–2) stayed at No. 4.

Teams in the second 10 of last week’s poll to lose were Indiana (fell from No. 10 to No. 14 after losses to Iowa and Maryland), Arizona (fell from No. 12 to No. 14 after a loss to UCLA), Notre Dame (fell from No. 14 to No. 20 after an 86–64 home loss to Louisville), Florida (fell from No. 15 to No. 23 after losses to Vanderbilt and Missouri) and Tennessee (fell from No. 16 to No. 18 after a loss to LSU).

AP Top 25

Others receiving votes: Princeton 32, UCF 26, Villanova 19, Toledo 15, Oregon 13, Washington State 13, Dayton 12, Colorado 6, Kansas State 3, Ole Miss 2, Kansas 1, South Dakota State 1. (Point values in parentheses indicate the number of first-place votes.)

ACC Tournament bracket

DateScore, record/
time, day, TV
(current rank)
November (6–0)
992–47 win, 1–0HomeN.C. A&T
1489–33 win, 2–0RoadCharlotte
1789–44 win, 3–0HomeAppalachian State
2179–46 win, 4–0RoadTCU
2672–59 win, 5–0Bimini, BahamasX — VCU
2758–37 win, 6–0Bimini, BahamasX — Washington
December (6–0, 2–0 ACC)
182–76 win, 7–0RoadY — Minnesota
593–47 win, 8–0HomeJames Madison
12107–46 win, 9–0HomeUNC Asheville
15Game canceledHomeJacksonville
1976–63 win, 10–0, 1–0 ACCRoadBoston College
2183–47 win, 11–0HomeAlabama State
3079–43 win, 12–0, 2–0HomeSyracuse
January (4–4, 4–4 ACC)
281–62 win, 13–0, 3–0 ACCHomeClemson
672–45 loss, 13–1, 3–1RoadNo. 3 N.C. State
971–46 win, 14–1, 4–1HomeNo. 21 Virginia Tech
1670–64 loss, 14–2, 4–2RoadNo. 20 Notre Dame
2061–52 win, 15–2, 5–2HomeVirginia
2355–38 loss, 15–3, 5–3RoadNo. 22 Georgia Tech
2778–62 win, 16–3, 6–3RoadDuke
3066–58 loss, 16–4, 6–4HomeNo. 3 N.C. State
February (7–1, 7–1 ACC)
378–59 win, 17–4, 7–4RoadWake Forest
685–38 win, 18–4, 8–4HomeMiami
1064–54 win, 19–4, 9–4HomePittsburgh
1366–61 loss, 19–5, 9–5RoadNo. 21 Virginia Tech
1766–65 win, 20–5, 10–5HomeNo. 4 Louisville
2064–49 win, 21–5, 11–5RoadFlorida State
2468–57 win, 22–5, 12–5RoadVirginia
2774–46 win, 23–5, 14–5HomeDuke
— ACC Tournament —
411 a.m. Friday, RSNGreensboroNo. 21 Virginia Tech,
Syracuse or Clemson
5noon Saturday, ACCNGreensboroSemifinals (with win Friday)
6noon Sunday, ESPNGreensboroFinal (with wins Friday, Saturday)
RSN — regional sports networks; ACCN — ACC Network; X —Goombay Splash; Y — Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications


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