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
|College of Charleston||55||2||Win|
|At Virginia Tech||20||1||Loss|
|At Wake Forest||109||2|
|At N.C. State||49||1|
|At Notre Dame||164||3|
|At Florida State||254||4|
|28||Friday||W, 101–40||Johnson C. Smith||Home||Exhibition|
|11||Friday||W, 102–86||College of Charleston||Home||2–0|
|20||Sunday||W, 80–64||James Madison||Home||4–0|
|Phil Knight Invitational|
|24||Thursday||W, 89–81||First round: Portland||Portland||5–0|
|27||Sunday||L, 103–101, |
No. 3 Alabama
|ACC/Big Ten Challenge|
|30||Wednesday||L, 77–65||No. 18 Indiana||Bloomington, Ind.||5–3|
|4||Sunday||L, 80–72||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, Va.||5–4, |
|10||Saturday||W, 75–59||Georgia Tech||Home||6–4, |
|13||Tuesday||W, 100–67||The Citadel||Home||7–4|
|CBS Sports Classic|
|17||Saturday||W, 89–84, OT||Ohio State||New York||8–4|
|30||Friday||L, 76–74||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||9–5, |
|4||Wednesday||W, 88–79||Wake Forest||Home||10–5, |
|7||Saturday||W, 81–64||Notre Dame||Home||11–5, |
|10||Tuesday||L, 65–58||No. 8 Virginia||Charlottesville||11–6, |
|14||Saturday||W, 80–59||Louisville||Louisville, Ky.||12–6, |
|17||Tuesday||W, 72–64||Boston College||Home||13–6, |
|21||Saturday||W, 80–69||No. 22 N.C. State||Home||14–6, |
|24||Tuesday||W, 72–68||Syracuse||Syracuse, N.Y.||15–6, |
|1||Wednesday||L, 65–64||Pittsburgh||Home||15–7, |
|4||Saturday||L, 63–57||Duke||Durham||15–8, |
|7||Tuesday||7 p.m.||Wake Forest||Winston-Salem||ESPN|
|13||Monday||7 p.m.||No. 19 Miami||Home||ESPN|
|19||Sunday||1 p.m.||No. 22 N.C. State||Raleigh||ESPN|
|22||Wednesday||9 p.m.||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||ESPN or ESPN2|
|25||Saturday||6 or 8||No. 8 Virginia||Home||ESPN|
|27||Monday||7 p.m.||Florida State||Tallahassee, Fla.||ESPN|
ACCN means the game airs on ACC Network.
Photo via @UNC_Basketball