It’s understandable if any Tar Heel fans out there have already packed it in for the season as far as NCAA Tournament hopes go. Things have been pretty grim following the loss to NC State, and it’s hard to see a clear path to the tournament that doesn’t involve winning the ACC. Unfortunately, that is pretty much where ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi is at as well, and the Tar Heels have nobody to blame but themselves.
Lunardi released his latest Bracketology yesterday, and he has the Tar Heels as one of the first four out. For the optimists out there, one could look at today’s game against Virginia and see that as a good thing, because winning a Quad 1 win might be enough to sneak into the field. However, Lunardi doesn’t feel like beating the Cavaliers alone is enough to secure a bid:
Even if North Carolina gets its long awaited Quad One win against Virginia, the Tar Heels won’t make it all the way into the projected field.
What this likely means is that at best, the Tar Heels might sneak back into the “last four in” spot, which is still really sketchy territory to be in with only two more games remaining after today. The game against Florida State will not help them at all if they win, but will do a lot of damage if they lose. As for the game against Duke, should the Tar Heels win tonight, it could set up yet another game where the Heels will have to rely on beating the Blue Devils to feel halfway decent about earning an automatic bid.
At this point, it’s hard to say what expectations for this team are realistic. Starting with tonight’s game, the spread is UNC -3.5 according to DraftKings.com at the time of writing this article, so make of that what you will. For me personally? I feel like this team’s last chance is winning the ACC Tournament, but with the way they’ve been playing as of late, it’s hard to see that happening. Maybe they’ll surprise us all and take down Virginia tonight, because truly it seems like the kind of chaotic energy that they’re into.