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UNC Basketball: The Tar Heels are the first team out in Lunardi’s latest Bracketology

The Race to 69™ has been won, but it’s the wrong number.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

This morning, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi released his updated bracket projection for the NCAA Tournament. With the Tar Heels riding a three-game win streak into the game against Duke, they are certainly looking a little more like a tournament team, but unfortunately Lunardi doesn’t think it’s enough just yet.

Lunardi now has UNC in the 69th spot of his bracket, making them the absolute first team out of the tournament. The Tar Heels did themselves a big favor by beating Notre Dame and Florida State on the road, but of course the most important win was beating #16 (was #6) Virginia to finally earn the elusive Quad 1 win. As of right now, beating Duke in the Dean Dome will count as another Quad 1 win, but it is worth noting that Virginia dropped all the way to 28 after the Heels beat them, and are currently ranked 29th. Is that exhausting? Absolutely. Is the system broken? One could make that argument. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

At this point, UNC’s path to the NCAA Tournament has two different looks: beat Duke and make a deep run in the ACC Tournament, or win the ACC Tournament and whatever happens against Duke happens. The way the Tar Heels have been playing lately, it’s looking more and more realistic that they could win the tournament, but it will be far from easy. Pitt is going to be the team to beat, but behind them, I think the Heels have as good of a chance as anybody to win it all. We’ll see how things play out next week in Greensboro.

Let us know your thoughts on the latest Bracketology, but also we’d love to hear your thoughts on the NCAA NET rankings. Do you feel like it’s a good system that the Tar Heels have just struggled with? Or do you feel like the system is broken and that there is a better way? Sound off in the comments below.