Compilation: UNC NCAA Projections 3/12
In the wonderful world of the RPI, sometimes a loss is better than a win. That's what happened to the Tar Heels over the weekend, as they dropped a 69-53 decision to Duke but still moved up a spot in this week's official NCAA RPI numbers. Such is the weight of strength of schedule.
Before we get to business, did someone say they wanted to see UNC basketball's version of the Harlem Shake? Don't miss Joel James doing his best Roy Williams impression (front right):
Here's a look at a bevy of NCAA bracket predictions as we close in on Selection Sunday:
CBSSports.com: Jerry Palm's numbers have not been especially bullish on the Tar Heels, but would any Carolina fan turn down this bracket? The Tar Heels are dispatched to Salt Lake City as an 8 seed, but they would face Minnesota first, with the winner headed to a likely matchup with Gonzaga. That's about as good as it gets as an 8 seed.
Yahoo! Sports: Carolina is a 6, which is as high as you'll find the Tar Heels anywhere. Exact matchups aren't listed, but the 11s are Boise St., Iowa St. Belmont and St. Mary's.
Sporting News: The Tar Heels are an 8 seed. 9s are San Diego State, Temple, Villanova and Oregon.
ESPN: Carolina remains a 7 seed (same as last week), and is sent to the relatively friendly location of Philadelphia. The first round game would be against St. Mary's, with the winner likely facing Georgetown. Something to watch with Philadelphia--that's where most observers think Duke will be sent. Would the committee send Duke and Carolina to the same place? There are those who believe doing so is unfavorable to the Blue Devils, although Philadelphia isn't exactly a Carolina stronghold.
USA Today/Patrick Stevens: The Tar Heels are a 7 in Auburn Hills. If the Tar Heels could get by future ACC brethren Notre Dame, they'd face Michigan State in the Spartans' backyard, which isn't always such a bad thing.
Bracket Project: Still has Carolina as a lofty 6. The listed 11s are Boise, Cincinnati, Cal and Villanova.
Brackonomics: Carolina is an 8 seed. The listed 9s are Minnesota, Creighton, Oregon and NCSU.
Crashing the Dance: This computer-generated model has the Tar Heels as the lowest 7 seed, right on the fringe of an 8. Given everything we've seen above, that seems about right.
SI.com: Carolina is a 7 seed in Lexington, facing 10 seed San Diego State for the right to face Louisville. That would set up a fascinating choice for Wildcat fans--who do they hate more, the Tar Heels or the Cardinals?
1. When we first started doing this exercise, it was fairly commonplace to see very similar matchups across the brackets. UNC-UCLA was a popular pairing, as was UNC-Michigan State. That's because the earlier brackets are based more on what "seems" right, and as we get closer to Selection Sunday, the numbers start to become more important. There's not one duplicated matchup for Carolina among any of the above nine brackets.
2. There is no consensus on the Tar Heels. Carolina is ranging anywhere from a 6 to an 8, which is a fairly wide spread.
3. Which means a potential Saturday ACC Tournament game against Duke could be very important. Win that one, and it looks fairly certain the Tar Heels would move out of the 8-9 game, and might even be able to climb as high as a 6.
4. The much-discussed UCLA game looks less likely this week than any of our previous weeks. The Bruins have moved into 6 seed territory, and Carolina isn't going to fall to an 11. If you're looking for a matchup with some sizzle, the most likely candidate might be Creighton, which is hovering around the 8-9 zone. But Creighton is probably a "bigger" deal to Carolina fans (because of last year's incident) than it is nationwide. It's doubtful anyone in Boise is sitting around going, "I sure hope CBS gives us that Creighton-UNC rematch."