ESPN projects UNC to be NCAA host; Heels slip in AP Top 25 women’s poll

By R.L. Bynum

North Carolina, which fell one spot to No. 19 in the AP Top 25 women’s basketball poll, may have done enough to earn a top 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, meaning games at Carmichael Arena in the first two rounds.

With all of the major conference tournaments complete, ESPN projects the Tar Heels (21–10) as a No. 4 seed after they beat Clemson 68–58 in the second round of the ACC Tournament on Thursday in Greensboro but lost 44–40 to Duke in Friday’s quarterfinals.

The good part of that projection is that UNC would be in one of the two Greenville, S.C., regionals instead of one of the two Seattle regionals.

The bad part is that it projects No. 1-ranked South Carolina (32–0) as the No. 1 seed in UNC’s region, meaning that the Tar Heels would meet the Gamecocks in the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. UNC lost to South Carolina last season in Greensboro 69–61 as a No. 5 seed, but that was the closest game the Gamecocks had in their run to the national championship.

UNC hasn’t been seeded as high as No. 4 since 2015, when it lost 67–65 to South Carolina in the Sweet 16.

The bracket will be revealed on Sunday night at 8 o’clock on ESPN.


Carolina is No. 21 in the NET rankings, which the tournament committee uses as one tool to pick and seed teams, and No. 20 in the Massey Ratings.

Virginia Tech (27–4), which beat Louisville 75–67 in Sunday’s ACC final for its 11th consecutive victory and first ACC title, moved up four spots to a program-record No. 4.

Notre Dame (25–5), which lost to Louisville 64–38 in the quarterfinals while playing without star guard Olivia Miles (knee injury), fell a spot to No. 11.

Duke, which ESPN projects as a No. 3 seed and a host, remained at No. 13 in the latest AP poll after beating UNC but losing 58–37 to the Hokies.

Voting UNC the highest at No. 13 was Mitchell Northam of WUNC, the only North Carolina-based voter. Three voters didn’t include the Tar Heels on their ballots: David Cloninger of The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., Jeff Linder of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Other voters had Carolina No. 17 (1), No. 18 (4), No. 19 (6), No. 20 (4), No. 21 (2), No. 22 (4), No. 23 (1) and No. 25 (2).

AP Top 25

RankTeamChangePoll points
1South Carolina (32-0)700* 
2Iowa (26–6)+5651
3Indiana (27–3)-1640
4Virginia Tech (27–4)+4595
5Stanford (28–5)+1557
6Maryland (25–6)-1547
7UConn (28–5)+2543
8Utah (25–4)-5519
9LSU (28–2)-5506
10Villanova (28–5)+1425
11Notre Dame (25–5)-1401
12Ohio State (25–7)+2395
13Duke (25–6)327
14Oklahoma (24–5)+2313
15Texas (23–8)-3298
16Gonzaga (27–3)-1282
17UCLA (25–9)+2273
18Michigan (22–9)-1175
19North Carolina (21–10)-1151
20Colorado (23–8)114
21UNLV (28–2)+1113
22Washington State (23–10)100
23Tennessee (23–11)92
24Arizona (21–9)-389
25Middle Tennessee (25–4)-162

Others receiving votes: Iowa State 57, South Florida 56, Creighton 37, Louisville 30, Florida Gulf Coast 15, Ole Miss 14, South Dakota State 10, Toledo 8, Florida State 2, N.C. State 2, USC 1.
* — South Carolina got all 28 first-place votes.

(current ranking)
9WednesdayW, 91–59Jackson StateHome1–0
12SaturdayW, 75–48TCUHome2–0
16WednesdayW, 93–25South Carolina StateHome3–0
20SundayW, 76–65James MadisonHarrisonburg, Va.4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 85–79OregonPortland5–0
27SundayW, 73–64No. 17 Iowa State Portland6–0
DecemberACC/Big Ten Challenge
1ThursdayL, 87–63No. 2 IndianaBloomington, Ind.6–1
7WednesdayW, 64–42UNCWHome7–1
11SundayW, 99–67WoffordHome8–1
16FridayW, 89–47USC UpstateHome9–1
Jumpman Invitational
20TuesdayL, 76–68No. 18 MichiganCharlotte9–2
ACC season begins
29ThursdayL, 78–71Florida StateHome9–3, 0–1 ACC
1SundayL, 68–65No. 4
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.9–4, 0–2 ACC
5ThursdayL, 62–58MiamiCoral Gables, Fla.9–5, 0–3 ACC
8SundayW, 60–50No. 10
Notre Dame
1–3 ACC
12ThursdayW, 70–59VirginiaCharlottesville, Va.11–5,
2–3 ACC
15SundayW, 56–47N.C. StateHome12–5,
3–3 ACC
19ThursdayW, 61–56No. 13 DukeHome13–5,
4–3 ACC
22SundayW, 70–57Georgia TechHome14–5,
5–3 ACC
26ThursdayW, 72–57PittsburghPittsburgh15–5,
6–3 ACC
29SundayW, 69–58ClemsonClemson16–5,
7–3 ACC
2ThursdayW, 73–62VirginiaHome17–5,
8–3 ACC
5SundayL, 62–55LouisvilleLouisville17–6,
8–4 ACC
9ThursdayL, 75–67SyracuseSyracuse17–7,
8–5 ACC
12SundayW, 73–55Boston CollegeHome18–7,
9–5 ACC
16ThursdayL, 77–66, OTN.C. StateRaleigh18–8,
9–6 ACC
19SundayW, 71–58Wake ForestHome19–8,
10–6 ACC
23ThursdayL, 61–59No. 4
Virginia Tech
10–7 ACC
26SundayW, 45–41No. 13 DukeDurham20–9,
10–8 ACC
MarchACC Tournament
2ThursdayW, 68–58Clemson Greensboro21–9
3FridayL, 44–40No. 13 Duke Greensboro21–10
NCAA tournament
18SaturdayW, 61–59 St. John’sColumbus, Ohio22–10
20MondayL, 71–69No. 12 Ohio State Columbus, Ohio22–11

Photo courtesy of the ACC


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