With few Quad 1 games ahead, UNC’s win over Ohio State was big

By R.L. Bynum

North Carolina’s 89–84 overtime victory Saturday over Ohio State was huge on so many levels, including that it was the Tar Heels’ first Quad 1 victory of the season.

What makes it even bigger is that UNC won’t get many more chances to add to that in a top-heavy ACC. The victory moved Carolina’s NET ranking up five spots to No. 27.

The NCAA tournament selection committee uses the NET rankings and number of Quad 1 victories as considerations when seeding teams for the tournament.

Tar Heels needed that win after losing their four previous Quad 1 games to Iowa State (current NET ranking of 26), Alabama (7), Indiana (23) and Virginia Tech (20). On the plus side, the committee will view those as “good losses.”

NCAA quadrant system

Quadrant 1: Home games against teams with a NET ranking of 30 or better, neutral-site games against teams ranked 50 or better and road games against teams ranked 75 or better
Quadrant 2: Home 31–75, neutral 51–100, road 76–135
Quadrant 3: Home 76–160, neutral 101–200, road 135–240
Quadrant 4: Home 161 or lower, neutral 201 or lower, road 241 or lower

When UNC announced Wednesday’s Jumpman Invitational matchup in Charlotte against Michigan (7 p.m., ESPN), that figured to be a Quad 1 win. But the Wolverines, No. 22 in the preseason AP Top 25, are 7–3 and only beat Lipscomb 83–75 at home on Saturday. That puts the Wolverines’ NET ranking at 86, making that a Quad 2 game for the Tar Heels.

That leaves North Carolina with only six more chances for Quad 1 wins (going by current NET rankings), and one of those is precarious. The Dec. 30 game at Pittsburgh is currently a Quad 1 game because the Panthers are No. 75. But if they fall one slot, that would be a Quad 2 game.

The other Quad 1 games remaining on UNC’s schedule are the two games against Virginia (current NET ranking of 17) and Duke (12), as well as the road game against N.C. State (49).

NET rankings fluctuate, and that could change the classification of those games. But if UNC only plays 11 Quad 1 games, that would be six fewer than last season, when the Tar Heels were 8–9 in those games.

Carolina played 12 Quad 1 games during the 2020–21 season (going 2–10) and in 2019–20 (3–9).

This season, UNC is 1–4 in Quad 1 games, 3–0 in Quad 2 games, 2–0 in Quad 3 games and 2–0 in Quad 4 games.

It will help the Tar Heels’ NET ranking that they only play the ACC’s two bottom-feeders, Louisville (344 NET ranking) and Florida State (254), once each. They would be two of the three lowest-ranked UNC opponents this season, along with The Citadel (292).

UNC opponent quad breakdown

OpponentNET rankingQuadrantOutcome
College of Charleston552Win
James Madison512Win
Iowa State261Loss
At Indiana231Loss
At Virginia Tech201Loss
Georgia Tech1193Win
The Citadel2924Win
Ohio State291Win
At Pittsburgh751
Wake Forest1093
Notre Dame1644
At Virginia171
At Louisville3444
Boston College2424
N.C. State492
At Syracuse1473
At Duke121
At Wake Forest1092
At N.C. State491
At Notre Dame1643
At Florida State2544

(current ranking)
28FridayW, 101–40Johnson C. Smith HomeExhibition
7MondayW, 69–56UNCWHome1–0
11FridayW, 102–86College of CharlestonHome2–0
15TuesdayW, 72–66Gardner-WebbHome3–0
20SundayW, 80–64James MadisonHome4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 89–81First round: PortlandPortland5–0
25FridayL, 70–65Semifinals:
Iowa State
27SundayL, 103–101,
4 OTs
No. 1 Alabama
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
30WednesdayL, 77–65 No. 21 IndianaBloomington, Ind.5–3
4SundayL, 80–72 Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.5–4,
0–1 ACC
10SaturdayW, 75–59Georgia TechHome6–4,
1–1 ACC
13TuesdayW, 100–67The CitadelHome7–4
CBS Sports Classic
17SaturdayW, 89–84, OTOhio StateNew York8–4
Jumpman Invitational
21WednesdayW, 80–76MichiganCharlotte9–4
30 Friday L, 76–74PittsburghPittsburgh9–5,
1–2 ACC
4WednesdayW, 88–79Wake ForestHome10–5,
2–2 ACC
7SaturdayW, 81–64Notre DameHome11–5,
3–2 ACC
10TuesdayL, 65–58No. 14 VirginiaCharlottesville11–6,
3–3 ACC
14SaturdayW, 80–59LouisvilleLouisville, Ky.12–6,
4–3 ACC
17TuesdayW, 72–64Boston CollegeHome13–6,
5–3 ACC
21SaturdayW, 80–69N.C. StateHome14–6,
6–3 ACC
24TuesdayW, 72–68SyracuseSyracuse, N.Y.15–6,
7–3 ACC
1WednesdayL, 65–64PittsburghHome15–7,
7–4 ACC
4SaturdayL, 63–57No. 12 DukeDurham15–8,
7–5 ACC
7TuesdayL, 92–85Wake ForestWinston-Salem15–9,
7–6 ACC
11SaturdayW, 91–71ClemsonHome 16–9,
8–6 ACC
13MondayL, 80–72No. 16 MiamiHome16–10,
8–7 ACC
19SundayL, 77–69N.C. StateRaleigh16–11,
8–8 ACC
22WednesdayW, 63–59Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.17–11,
9–8 ACC
25SaturdayW, 71–63No. 14 VirginiaHome18–11,
10–8 ACC
27MondayW, 77–66Florida StateTallahassee, Fla.19–11,
11–8 ACC
4SaturdayL, 62–57No. 12 DukeHome19–12,
11–9 ACC
ACC tournament
8WednesdayW, 85–61Boston CollegeGreensboro20–12
9ThursdayL, 68–59No. 14 Virginia Greensboro20–13

Photo via @UNC_Basketball


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