There is an old saying among those who follow North Carolina basketball, so popular that they put it on t-shirts: If God is not a tar heel, why the Carolina Blue sky?
Which leads to this question in light of the 2020-21 season: If God is a tar heel, why is Carolina 15-9?
The team that has won three NCAA championships since 2005 has encountered unusual difficulties over the past two seasons, but at least this year’s edition is progressing to a bottom spot in the NCAA. Last year’s team would have missed the NCAAs had the tournament not been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can North Carolina participate in the NCAA tournament?
The most relevant question might be: Can’t North Carolina make it into the tournament? Tar Heels are a No.10 seed in the Projected field of 68 compiled by Ryan Fagan of Sporting News. As its support is built, that puts at least seven high-profile teams behind the Tar Heels. It’s hard to fall behind so many teams in such a short time – especially when most of those teams struggle even more to win games than the Heels.
To take the assertive point of view, however, the Heels would be close enough to locking in an offer if they were able to defeat Duke in their season-ending rivalry game at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.
That would put the Heels 16-9 on aggregate with a 9-8 record against Quads 1 and 2 combined. Bubble teams such as Boise State, Xavier, Colorado State and Memphis all have fewer wins in this category.
North Carolina and the ACC Tournament
The Tar Heels enter the weekend tied for sixth place in the ACC with a 9-6 league record, but they lose the tiebreaker, as it stands, with Clemson for the sixth place in the CCA tournament. That tiebreaker involved Clemson’s head-to-head win over the Heels, so that can’t change if they’re still tied after the final games of the regular season.
However, the Tar Heels could get a head start by beating the Blue Devils while Clemson loses his end of the season to a .500 Pitt team.
There are still scenarios in which Carolina could end up in the No. 4 or No. 5 seed, although the Heels would require some major upheaval. The most likely scenario appears to be a No.6 seed, with favorites Georgia Tech, Virginia and Clemson winning their final games.
At No.6, the Heels would play a first-round match against the winner between the No.11 and No.14 teams, currently Boston College and Notre Dame. With a win would come a quarterfinal game against the No.3 seed, currently Virginia Tech, whose COVID-19 hiatus began after a Feb. 27 win over Wake Forest and wiped out games this week against Louisville and NC. State.
North Carolina calendar remaining
The biggest rivalry in American sports – North Carolina against Duke – does not take advantage of one of its typically glamorous seasons. In some ways, however, the stakes are higher than ever.
North Carolina has never been a double-digit seed in the NCAA tournament. His lowest seeds since the NCAA started using this device in 1979 were # 8 seeds in 1990 (under Dean Smith Heels reached Sweet 16), 2000 (under Bill Guthridge they reached Final Four) and 2013 (under Roy Williams they advanced one lap).
Now, in the game that traditionally ends the regular season for both teams, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils will play at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.
There is no doubt that the network will make this an opportunity.
The strength of North Carolina’s victory
North Carolina’s biggest problem in reporting a case in general is a 2-8 record against the opposition of Quad 1. When they’ve played the best teams on their schedule – or when they’ve faced the most difficult challenges – most of them lost.
The exceptions to this were a home win over Florida State’s No.13 NET and the first meeting with the Blue Devils, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in early February.
They are 3-6 against teams in the NCAA field projected by Sporting News.
The weak points of North Carolina
Facing a hole in the schedule due to an opponent’s COVID hiatus, Williams arranged a non-championship visit to Marquette, a talented team who had fallen in the Big East race with six losses in seven games. It was an opportunity to add a solid victory – Marquette is No. 90 in the NET rankings – and to remain vigilant with more competition.
It didn’t work that way. Marquette controlled the game and left Chapel Hill with a memorable 83-70 victory.
It’s North Carolina’s only Quad 3 loss, but one in this category is a lot for an NCAA tournament contender.
The road losses to NC State and Syracuse are the only other losses against teams outside the SN range projection, and these qualify as Quad 1 losses.
KenPom, RPI, SOS, and North Carolina Quadrants
– KenPom: Carolina is # 32 in the last KenPom Ranking.
– RPI: Carolina ranks # 38 in the last RPI Ranking.
– Calendar strength: Carolina is n ° 28 of the latest SOS rankings and 35 in the strength of the case.
– Quadrants: Carolina measures 2-8 ” Parts of quadrant 1, 8-8 versus quadrants 1 and 2 combined. The Heels have a loss in Quad 3.
How North Carolina Makes March Madness
The Tar Heels really don’t have a lot of work to do in the purest sense. Win a home game against a team in one game over .500? Winning on neutral ground against a team with a losing record? That’s all North Carolina needs to secure a candidacy.
It becomes much more difficult with a few minor language changes. The Tar Heels must defeat their fiercest rivals to win a sweep of the season, and they must do so against a team that is even more in desperate need of success to stay in the hunt for the NCAA. Then they have to get into the ACC tournament and quite possibly defeat an opponent who has already ruined Pitt’s post-season aspirations and damaged Duke’s NCAA tournament case.
It might not be that easy after all, but there are plenty of Division I programs – including some with a tradition that ranks among the greatest in the game – that would eagerly accept the opportunity to trade. places with the Heels.