After the North Carolina Tar Heels‘ tremendous four-game stretch, in which they defeated both Duke and Pittsburgh, they now find themselves back in the AP Top 25. The team is entering the week at No. 19, and if they continue their recent success, then they could find themselves in the top 15 by the end of the season. Nobody expected the Tar Heels to even be in consideration for a national ranking, but they are continuing their trend of proving every single one of their doubters wrong.
The Tar Heels began ACC play 0-3, but they are now in fourth place in one of the most competitive conferences in college basketball. The team’s last loss was to the current ACC leader, Virginia, but after that, the boys from Chapel Hill have not lost a single game. During this nine-game win streak, the Tar Heels have been stellar in all aspects of their game (minus free-throw shooting), and they have solidified themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament. It is unlikely for a team to jump from unranked into the top 20, but the Tar Heels have proven that they are more than deserving of the position.
Moving forward, the Tar Heels have four more games left on their regular season schedule. Three are against unranked teams, and their final game of the season is against Duke on the road. If they can win out the remainder of their schedule, then they will find themselves with a top seed in the ACC tournament. If they continue their momentum and win the conference tournament, then this season will go down in history as one of the greatest comeback season’s for a college basketball team ever.
The Tar Heels are more than capable of winning out, as long as they do not let the No. 19 next to their names get to their heads. A ranking should not make them feel like they are superior to every unranked team in the nation, because that is exactly how they lost so many bad games in non-conference play. The only thing that should matter to them is an ACC title, and until they accomplish that goal, they have nothing to celebrate.
Momentum is everything at this point in the season, and the Tar Heels have more of it than any other team in the ACC. As long as they keep up a sense of urgency, then maintaining their current momentum should not be a problem. The Tar Heels control their own destiny from here on out, and they would not want to have it any other way.