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
|1||South Carolina (32-0)||—||700*|
|4||Virginia Tech (27–4)||+4||595|
|11||Notre Dame (25–5)||-1||401|
|12||Ohio State (25–7)||+2||395|
|19||North Carolina (21–10)||-1||151|
|22||Washington State (23–10)||—||100|
|25||Middle Tennessee (25–4)||-1||62|
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.
|9||Wednesday||W, 91–59||Jackson State||Home||1–0|
|16||Wednesday||W, 93–25||South Carolina State||Home||3–0|
|20||Sunday||W, 76–65||James Madison||Harrisonburg, Va.||4–0|
|Phil Knight Invitational|
|27||Sunday||W, 73–64||No. 17 Iowa State||Portland||6–0|
|December||ACC/Big Ten Challenge|
|1||Thursday||L, 87–63||No. 2 Indiana||Bloomington, Ind.||6–1|
|16||Friday||W, 89–47||USC Upstate||Home||9–1|
|20||Tuesday||L, 76–68||No. 18 Michigan||Charlotte||9–2|
|ACC season begins|
|29||Thursday||L, 78–71||Florida State||Home||9–3, 0–1 ACC|
|1||Sunday||L, 68–65||No. 4 |
|Blacksburg, Va.||9–4, 0–2 ACC|
|5||Thursday||L, 62–58||Miami||Coral Gables, Fla.||9–5, 0–3 ACC|
|8||Sunday||W, 60–50||No. 10 |
|12||Thursday||W, 70–59||Virginia||Charlottesville, Va.||11–5, |
|15||Sunday||W, 56–47||N.C. State||Home||12–5, |
|19||Thursday||W, 61–56||No. 13 Duke||Home||13–5, |
|22||Sunday||W, 70–57||Georgia Tech||Home||14–5, |
|26||Thursday||W, 72–57||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||15–5, |
|29||Sunday||W, 69–58||Clemson||Clemson||16–5, |
|2||Thursday||W, 73–62||Virginia||Home||17–5, |
|5||Sunday||L, 62–55||Louisville||Louisville||17–6, |
|9||Thursday||L, 75–67||Syracuse||Syracuse||17–7, |
|12||Sunday||W, 73–55||Boston College||Home||18–7, |
|16||Thursday||L, 77–66, OT||N.C. State||Raleigh||18–8, |
|19||Sunday||W, 71–58||Wake Forest||Home||19–8, |
|23||Thursday||L, 61–59||No. 4 |
|26||Sunday||W, 45–41||No. 13 Duke||Durham||20–9, |
|3||Friday||L, 44–40||No. 13 Duke||Greensboro||21–10|
|18||Saturday||W, 61–59||St. John’s||Columbus, Ohio||22–10|
|20||Monday||L, 71–69||No. 12 Ohio State||Columbus, Ohio||22–11|
Photo courtesy of the ACC