Early in the season it looked like the preseason top 10 North Carolina Tar Heels might be headed back to the NIT due to a disappointing year. The Tar Heels suffered an ugly loss to Butler, a blowout loss to Indiana, and a disgraceful loss to Texas in their non-conference schedule that looked like it would be rather easy.
The only quality win the Tar Heels got during their non-conference schedule was over UNLV, but that isn’t a resume clinching win. Then ACC play came along and the Tar Heels dropped their first two league games to a Miami team who at the time wasn’t the same team as they are now and they also lost to an alright Virginia team.
Sitting on five losses and one decent victory halfway through the season, North Carolina had a lot of work to do in order to be dancing come March.
At 18-8 and a pretty favorable schedule left, with no really bad losses on their resume, a win over North Carolina State would seal North Carolina’s birth into the NCAA tournament.
As long as they were able to win out the rest of the way, or lose to Duke only, the selection committee wouldn’t be able to deny North Carolina a bid.
They still have a lot of work to do as a team and won’t get a great seed in the tournament, but they have the talent to beat anyone as well as the coaching.
North Carolina needs to get to the tournament in order to be a factor in the tournament and a win over North Carolina State will most likely give them that opportunity.