By R.L. Bynum
At No. 32 in the NET rankings, Carolina’s NCAA tournament resume is about as good as it could be for an 11–6 team, thanks to lots of “good losses.”
No team has played more than the Tar Heels’ seven Quad 1 games. They are one of six teams — along with West Virginia (29 in NET rankings, 10–6), Washington State (70, 8–10), Butler (80, 10–8), Nebraska (96, 9–8) and Mississippi (100, 8–8) — that are 1–6 in those games.
Maryland is the only other team with seven Quad 1 games. The Terps (11–5) are 3–4, with one of those Q1 wins against Miami 88–70 on Nov. 20 at Uncasville, Conn.
UNC’s NET ranking is much higher than the other 11–6 teams — Virginia Tech (58), Colorado (60), Bradley (62), Pittsburgh (64), Cincinnati (87), BYU (89), Loyola Marymount (102), Syracuse (118) and San Jose State (119).
The Tar Heels are 2–0 in Quad 2 games, 5–0 in Quad 3 games and 3–0 in Quad 4 games.
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 is in much better shape than last season when it navigated the NCAA bubble in February before going on a run to earn a No. 8 seed and make the national championship game.
UNC will go from a Quad 1 game in Tuesday’s 65–58 loss to Virginia to its weakest opponent of the season Saturday when the Tar Heels visit Louisville (342 NET ranking, 2–15). That game will hurt Carolina’s NET ranking regardless of the outcome. The previous weakest opponent was The Citadel (318, 5–11).
UNC’s lone Quad 1 win came 89–84 in overtime in New York on Dec. 17 against Ohio State.
The loss at Virginia, without Pete Nance and with Armando Bacot only playing briefly, was the latest of the six Quad 1 losses, along with Iowa State (70–65 in Portland on Nov. 25), Alabama (103–101 in 4 OTs in Portland on Nov. 27), at Indiana (77–65 on Nov. 30), at Virginia Tech (80–72 on Dec. 4) and at Pittsburgh (76–64 on Dec. 30).
Two non-conference wins moved down a classification, with UNCW (91 in NET, 12–4) going from a Quad 2 to a Quad 3 and Gardner-Webb (175, 6–9) moving back from a Quad 3 to a Quad 4.
Under the current NET rankings, UNC has five more Quad 1 games remaining: both Duke (22 NET ranking, 13–4) games, both N.C. State (28, 13–4) games and the home game against Virginia (16, 12–3). The home game against the Wolfpack will become Quad 2 if it slips three spots.
With a rise of six spots from either team, the game at Wake Forest (81, 12–5) and/or the home game against Miami (36, 14–2) would become Quad 1.
You might wonder how Clemson could be 14–3 and alone atop the ACC at 6–0 yet have a NET ranking of 59. It’s because of two damaging Quad 4 losses — 60–58 on Nov. 11 at South Carolina (NET ranking of 245, 8–8) and 76–48 to Loyola Chicago (265, 6–10) on Dec. 30 in Atlanta.
The only other teams in the top 100 of the NET with two Quad 4 losses are Utah State (24th in the NET rankings, 13–3 with four Quad 1 wins) and Yale (82, 9–5). The Tigers are 3–1 in Quad 1 games, though.
UNC schedule quad breakdown
|College of Charleston||45||2||Win|
|At Virginia Tech||58||1||Loss|
|At Wake Forest||81||2|
|At N.C. State||27||1|
|At Notre Dame||166||3|
|At Florida State||226||3|
|No. 16 Miami||5–1||14–2||36|
|No. 13 Virginia||4–2||12–3||16|
|No. 24 Duke||4-2||13–4||22|
No. 13 Virginia 65, North Carolina 58
Notre Dame 73, Georgia Tech 72, OT
No. 16 Miami 88, Boston College 72
Syracuse 82, Virginia Tech 72
No. 24 Duke 77, Pittsburgh 69
Clemson 83, Louisville 70
Wake Forest 90, Florida State 75
No. 16 Miami at N.C. State, noon, RSN
North Carolina at Louisville, 2 p.m., ESPN
Pitt at Georgia Tech, 3 p.m., ACCN
No. 13 Virginia at Florida State, 4 p.m., ESPN2
No. 24 Duke at Clemson, 5 p.m., ACCN
Notre Dame at Syracuse, 7 p.m., ACCN
Wake Forest at Boston College, 8 p.m., ESPN2
|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