On January 5th, UNC lost at Wake Forest and the next day was dropped from #19 in the AP poll to out of it completely. Today, on the strength of UNC's first nine game winning streak in the ACC regular season since 2009, the Tar Heels are #19 in the AP poll and #21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Since I favor the AP Poll here is the full list.
AP Top 25
|1||Florida Gators (47)||25-2||1,606||2|
|2||Wichita St. Shockers (14)||29-0||1,549||3|
|3||Arizona Wildcats (4)||25-2||1,494||4|
|6||Duke Blue Devils||22-6||1,286||5|
|10||Saint Louis Billikens||25-2||1,047||10|
|13||San Diego St. Aztecs||23-3||886||6|
|15||Iowa St. Cyclones||21-5||709||17|
|18||Michigan St. Spartans||22-6||552||13|
|19||North Carolina Tar Heels||20-7||440||NR|
|22||Ohio St. Buckeyes||22-6||253||24|
|25||New Mexico Lobos||21-5||113||NR|
Simply moving into the poll shouldn't make a difference in how UNC plays but in some cases there is the perception that it does. This is tangible evidence of UNC's success and validation of the the quality of UNC's play of late. Of course the ranking is not nearly as important as where UNC ends up in the NCAA Tournament. Here are a few of the latest projections out there today.
ESPN(Joe Lunardi): #5 seed in the West assigned to Spokane
CBS(Jerry Palm): #7 seed in the East assigned to Raleigh
USA Today(Shelby Mast): #5 seed in the West assigned to Spokane
UNC still has a lot a work to do to improve its NCAA Tournament position. This is the price paid by losing to Belmont, UAB, Wake Forest and Miami. UNC's wins over the top four in the preseason AP poll isn't as much a lift as the three losses in the 101-200 range in the RPI is a drag. Which is to say, a win at Duke or beating one of Duke, Virginia or Syracuse in the ACC Tournament would help. The committee tends to reward teams playing well at the right time of the season and providing UNC continues to do that, it should bode well for the Tar Heels on selection Sunday.