By R.L. Bynum
The narrow loss at Pittsburgh made Carolina’s return to the AP Top 25 men’s poll brief. But the good news for the Tar Heels is that the 76–74 setback came in a Quad 1 game, and can be classified as a “good loss” for NCAA men’s tournament resume purposes.
UNC (9–5, 1–2 ACC) is one of six teams in the country that has played an NCAA-high six Quad 1 games, but is tied for the second-worst record in those games at 1–5 with South Dakota State (194 in the NET rankings). No 5-ranked Arizona (5 in NET) is 5–1, No. 24 Ohio State (10 in NET) is 3–3, No. 9 Gonzaga (13 in NET) is 3–3 and Florida (61 in NET) is 0–6.
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
Carolina’s lone Quad 1 win came 89–84 in overtime over the Buckeyes on Dec. 17 in New York. The other Quad 1 losses in addition to Pittsburgh (70 NET ranking) are against Iowa State (26), Alabama (8), at Indiana (19) and at Virginia Tech (38).
With College of Charleston (No. 23) debuting in the AP Top 25 poll and Ohio State (No. 24) and Iowa State (No. 25) returning, Carolina has faced five currently ranked non-conference teams (also No. 7 Alabama and No. 15 Indiana).
Under the current NET rankings, UNC only has five more Quad 1 games: Both matchups against No. 11 Virginia (16 in NET) and No. 16 Duke (17), in addition to the game at N.C. State (63).
There is a potential for two more, with Wake Forest (81) six away from UNC’s Feb. 7 game at Winston-Salem becoming a Quad 1 game, and Miami (33) three away from the Tar Heels’ Feb. 13 home game against the Hurricanes becoming Quad 1.
The Tar Heels, No. 29 in the NET rankings, are 3–0 in Quad 2 games, 4–0 in Quad 3 games and beat The Citadel in their lone Quad 4 contest.
When UNC beat Gardner Webb, that was a Quad 4 game, but the Bulldogs are now 144 in the NET, making that a Quad 3 game. Conversely, the UNCW win moved from a Quad 2 game to a Quad 3 after the Seahawks fell to 86 in the NET rankings.
This week’s two home games won’t help UNC in the NET rankings, with a Quad 3 game Wednesday against Wake Forest (81) and a Quad 4 game Saturday against Notre Dame (173). But the next Quad 1 game is after that on Jan. 10 at Virginia.
“Good losses” can only get Carolina so far, so a win in Charlottesville would be huge for the Tar Heels’ resume.
UNC quad breakdown
|College of Charleston||49||2||Win|
|At Virginia Tech||38||1||Loss|
|At Wake Forest||81||2|
|At N.C. State||63||1|
|At Notre Dame||173||3|
|At Florida State||241||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