By R.L. Bynum
North Carolina’s men’s team hasn’t done much of late to help its NCAA resume, and factors that the Tar Heels can’t control are making it look even worse. There are now two wins that, on game day, were Quad 1 but are now Quad 2.
For the second consecutive season, UNC is on the bubble in mid-February.
ESPN’s bracket projection released Tuesday has the Tar Heels in the “last four in” group, along with Clemson. Joe Lunardi has the Tar Heels and the Tigers playing in the First Four. Even before Monday’s 80–72 home loss to Miami, Jerry Palm of CBS projected UNC for the First Four.
Few saw a scenario when UNC was the preseason No. 1 team that the Heels might go from the Final Four to the First Four, but it’s a real possibility. That’s assuming Carolina makes the field, which isn’t a safe bet at this point. Just like last season at this time, a trip to the NIT is possible.
“I’m stressed the heck out,” Armando Bacot said after the Miami loss Monday. “I want to get back to the NCAA tournament. That’s all of our goals. This never would have crossed my mind, but I’m 100% worried. We all know. Everybody in the building knows what’s at stake.”
NCAA quadrant system
Quadrant 1 (UNC is 0–9 in these games): 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 (6–1): Home 31–75, neutral 51–100, road 76–135
Quadrant 3 (5–0): Home 76–160, neutral 101–200, road 135–240
Quadrant 4 (5–0): Home 161 or lower, neutral 201 or lower, road 241 or lower
Carolina’s loss to Miami dropped the Heels six spots in the NET rankings to 46. But, in one of the only bits of good news, the Canes’ NET ranking moved up to 30 to barely be classified as a Quad 1 loss.
The 89–84 overtime win over Ohio State on Dec. 17 in New York was their only Quad 1 win for nearly two months (other than 12 hours or so after the 80–69 home win over N.C. State on Jan. 21 before it became Quad 2) but the Buckeyes’ struggles have made that a Quad 2. Ohio State (11–14) has lost six in a row and 11 of its last 12, falling to a NET ranking of 54,
All of that leaves UNC 0–9 in Quad 1 games, 6–1 in Quad 2 games (the loss is the 65–64 home setback Feb. 1 against Pittsburgh), 5–0 in Quad 3 games and 5–0 in Quad 4 games.
Carolina has two chances for Quad 1 wins under the current rankings — Sunday at N.C. State (36 in the NET rankings) and Feb. 25 at home against Virginia (13). The March 4 home game against Duke could become Quad 1 if the Blue Devils, currently with a NET ranking of 32, move up to at least 30.
There was some other positive movement in game classification.
Gardner-Webb has surged 21 spots to 159 in the NET to make that 72–66 Nov. 15 win Quad 3. Wake Forest is at 73, a rise in the last week, to make the 88–79 home win Jan. 4 Quad 2 victory. The 92–85 loss on Feb. 7 at Wake Forest would become a Quad 2 if the Deacs fall to 76 or lower.
UNC quad breakdown
|College of Charleston||55||2||Win|
|At Virginia Tech||57||1||Loss|
|At Wake Forest||73||1||Loss|
|At N.C. State||36||1|
|At Notre Dame||201||3|
|At Florida State||212||4|
|No. 16 Miami||15–5||24–6|
|No. 13 Virginia||15–5||23–6|
|No. 25 Pittsburgh||14–6||21–10|
Duke 62, North Carolina 57
No. 13 Virginia 75, Louisville 60
Georgia Tech 73, Boston College 65
Virginia Tech 82, Florida State 60
Syracuse 72, Wake Forest 63
No. 26 Miami 78, No. 25 Pittsburgh 76
Clemson 87, Notre Dame 64
End of regular season
|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. 1 Alabama
|ACC/Big Ten Challenge|
|30||Wednesday||L, 77–65||No. 21 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. 14 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||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||No. 12 Duke||Durham||15–8, |
|7||Tuesday||L, 92–85||Wake Forest||Winston-Salem||15–9, |
|11||Saturday||W, 91–71||Clemson||Home|| 16–9, |
|13||Monday||L, 80–72||No. 16 Miami||Home||16–10, |
|19||Sunday||L, 77–69||N.C. State||Raleigh||16–11, |
|22||Wednesday||W, 63–59||Notre Dame||South Bend, Ind.||17–11, |
|25||Saturday||W, 71–63||No. 14 Virginia||Home||18–11, |
|27||Monday||W, 77–66||Florida State||Tallahassee, Fla.||19–11, |
|4||Saturday||L, 62–57||No. 12 Duke||Home||19–12,|
|8||Wednesday||W, 85–61||Boston College||Greensboro||20–12|
|9||Thursday||L, 68–59||No. 14 Virginia||Greensboro||20–13|
Photo via @UNC_Basketball