The North Carolina Tar Heels need to win and pass Virginia to secure one seed status in the NCAA Tournament.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are about to face off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and there is a lot at stake. The Tar Heels are currently ranked number seven in the polls and one would figure they would need to be in the top four in order to have a place on the one seed line of the NCAA Tournament.
Really there is only one team that is preventing the Heels from reaching the one line right now and that is Virginia. Kansas and Oklahoma will sort themselves out, as one will likely fall off the one line. Villanova and Xavier are the same way, one will eliminate the other. Michigan State could fall off if they lose, but they are the highest ranked surviving team in the Big Ten Tournament.
It really comes down to Virginia and their place of finish versus the Heels. North Carolina owns the ACC Regular Season title, which should account for something. However they lost to the Cavaliers in their only matchup this season in Charlottesville. Virginia was ranked higher at that point and have remained so ever since.
So the rule of thumb for the Heels is that they need to survive longer in the ACC Tournament than Virginia does. Since we are now in the semifinals that can be accomplished only if the Heels were to beat Virginia in the final or if Miami beat Virginia while the Heels beat Notre Dame.
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The second scenario brings another spectre. Miami lies just outside the top ten right now, but a second victory over Virginia would no doubt elevate it. The question would be how far would they rise? If Miami was to beat North Carolina in the final, would that outweigh the twenty-five point loss that they suffered earlier in the season?
So the path for North Carolina may well be to win the whole tournament or be relegated to a 2 seed or possibly even a 3 seed depending on the results of other games in other tournaments.
It would be a deviation from the formula. No Roy Williams title team has ever won the ACC Tournament before the NCAA Tournament. On the other hand no Roy Williams title team has ever won the NCAA Tournament outside of the one seed.
Of course none of this means anything if the Tar Heels do not beat Notre Dame this evening. That game will tip off at 7:00 PM.