UNC basketball Bracketology: Are Tar Heels in danger of missing March Madness?

UNC basketball entered the season as the No. 1 team but has disappointed. Does Tuesday’s loss put the Tar Heels in trouble according to Bracketology?

The one thing that Hubert Davis had to hope he wouldn’t see in the 2022-23 season was his North Carolina Tar Heels repeat the same pattern from a season ago. Sure, that pattern resulted in a March Madness run as a No. 8 seed in the tournament after a late-season surge that led them to the National Championship Game. However, it was the shortcomings early in the year that necessitated that UNC basketball run that was troubling.

Unfortunately, he and his team haven’t avoided that. Despite entering the year ranked No. 1 in the country, they’ve faltered at inopportune times throughout the season. Another one of those times came on Tuesday night when, after a loss in Durham to Duke over the weekend, they were unable to climb out of a huge first-half hole and fell to Wake Forest, 92-85.

Now, the Tar Heels sit at only 15-9 overall this season and at just 7-6 in ACC play during a down year overall for the conference. And you have to start praying to the Bracketology gods at this point that UNC basketball still has a spot in March Madness. After such a loss, though, is that still the case?

UNC basketball Bracketology: Tar Heels need work to get off the bubble

Entering Tuesday’s action, ESPN Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi had North Carolina as a No. 9 seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, relatively comfortably in the field though still certainly considered on the bubble. Meanwhile, CBS Sports Bracketology analyst Jerry Palm had the Tar Heels as a No. 8 seed, more firmly in the field but still on the bubble for March Madness.

Even after losing to the Demon Deacons on the road, UNC basketball is probably still in the field. However, the ninth defeat of the year definitely means that the margin for error is getting slimmer for North Carolina in the closing month of the season.

Perhaps the biggest thing working against the Heels right now is their lack of quality wins on the resumé. They have only one Quad 1 win on the season, which came back in December against Ohio State, a Buckeyes team that now sits at just 11-12 on the season. That’s not exactly what you want to sway the committee on Selection Sunday.

Having said that, UNC basketball will have plenty of opportunities to stake their claim for a March Madness berth, even before the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels face an 18-win Clemson team in Chapel Hill on Saturday, Feb. 11 and still have a home date with Miami, a road trip to rival NC State, a home rematch against Virginia, and the Dean Dome return game against Duke to boost their stock.

What the Heels can’t afford is another bad loss, which falling in either of their two road games remaining against Notre Dame and Florida State would be. If they avoid that while potentially going 3-2 or better in the other five matchups left on the schedule, North Carolina should be back in the field of 68.

They’re just making it way harder on themselves than it ever should have been.

For more NCAA basketball news, analysis, opinion and features, check out more from the FanSided college basketball section to stay on top of the latest action.

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