Inconsistent is an understatement when describing this year’s North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team.
The Tar Heel began the season ranked No. 12 in the preseason AP Top 25, but after losing to unranked Belmont in just their third game of the season, they dropped all the way to No. 24. Following an impressive win against Louisville when they were the No. 3 team in the country, the Tar Heels moved up to No. 16, but then lost to a mediocre UAB team, thus causing them to drop completely out of the rankings. As an unranked team, the Tar Heels defeated Michigan State when they were the No. 1 team in the country and moved back into the AP Top 25 as No. 18. They defeated Kentucky to move up to No. 14, but once again lost to an unranked team, Texas, and moved back to No. 19. After the team’s loss on Sunday to unranked Wake Forest in their ACC opener, the Tar Heels once again find themselves out of the AP Top 25.
In all the year’s that I have watched college basketball, I have never seen a team jump in and out of the AP Top 25 so erratically. I have always stressed that the Tar Heels need to beat the teams they are supposed to beat, but it is seeming that the team is not supposed to beat anybody. Every single game is a challenge for the Tar Heels, and there is not one game on the schedule that is a guaranteed victory moving forward. Every time they gain momentum, it is lost almost immediately. That not only goes for moving from game to game, but within each game, they cannot seem to gain momentum and carry it until the end. In the Wake Forest game, they came in with tons of momentum, but with awful shooting, stupid fouls, and a ridiculous amount of turnovers, it was all lost in the blink of an eye.
The Tar Heels may be better off without a ranking, because it seems that the higher they are ranked, the more embarrassing of a loss they obtain to knock them out of polls. With the way they are playing right now, they do not even deserve to have a number to the left of their name. At this rate, they will be lucky to have a solid ranking come March Madness time. Right now, the unranked Tar Heels have a numerous amount of things on their agendas to improve upon, and unfortunately, it is in the most important part of their season.
The team faces off against Miami at home tomorrow, then have a huge matchup against No. 2 Syracuse on the road on Saturday. With the way things have gone this season, it would not be a surprise if they suffered an embarrassing loss to Miami then defeated Syracuse handily. The Tar Heels have yet to solidify their identity this season, and chances are, they will not do so as the season progresses. For now, they must play every game as the underdog, because let’s face it, they really should not be projected to beat anyone.