Tar Heels’ record led to No. 8 seed

Mar. 18, 2013 @ 09:54 PM

Division I men’s basketball committee chair Mike Bobinski said that a lack of high-quality wins was the primary reason that North Carolina received a No. 8 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels (24-10) won eight of their final 10 games, finished third in the ACC and made the ACC Tournament final, and UNC coach Roy Williams said he was disappointed in the team’s seed.
While on Tar Heels athletic director Bubba Cunningham’s radio show, Bobinski said the committee was impressed with the UNC’s improvement and discussed moving the Tar Heels up if they beat Miami in Sunday’s ACC final.
But UNC ultimately lost to the Hurricanes 87-77 at the Greensboro Coliseum, and its recent success didn’t make up for its season-long body of work.
“There weren’t a preponderance of really, really high-quality wins,” Bobinski said. “And I think that, more than anything, was the deciding factor in how we ultimately seeded.”
UNC finished 0-6 against top two seeds, with three losses to No. 2 Miami, two to No. 2 Duke and one to No. 1 Indiana. They also beat No. 5 UNLV at home and lost to No. 6 Butler at a neutral site. The Tar Heels split with No. 8 N.C. State.
In the end, UNC matched its lowest-ever seed in 44 tournament appearances. It will play No. 9 Villanova on Friday in Kansas City (7:20 p.m., TNT), with the winner most likely meeting No. 1 seed Kansas in the round of 32 on Sunday.
“We were a little disappointed,” Williams said Monday on his weekly radio show. “We though we’d be better than that, there’s no question about it. But the bottom line is it’s what it is and we gotta go play, and all that other junk doesn’t make any difference. All their reasons doesn’t make one freakin’ bit of difference.
“The bottom line is it came out like that on the bracket, and we’re going to Kansas City and try to play as hard as we can play.”
Williams wasn’t just disappointed in UNC’s seed — he was sad to see how the ACC as a whole was treated. Miami became the first conference school to win the outright regular-season title and the league tournament and not receive a No. 1 seed, while Duke (the No. 1 team in the NCAA’s RPI) also received a No. 2 seed.
Virginia, which finished tied for fourth in the league, and Maryland, which beat Duke twice, were left out of the field.
“I have a hard time understanding the lack of respect,” Williams said.
Bobinsky is in his final month as the athletic director at Xavier and will become Georgia Tech’s AD on April 1. He also told Cunningham why the Tar Heels ended up in the same regional as Kansas — which coincidentally was the school Williams coached for 15 years before taking over at UNC, and also the team that knocked the Tar Heels out in the regional final a year ago.
Bobinski said by procedure, the committee was required to separate the top three teams from each league. With Miami in the East and Duke in the Midwest, that left the South with Kansas and the West with No. 1 Gonzaga, and the South was the closest region geographically.
Bobinski also said that Kansas City was also the only site available at the time UNC was selected.
“It was really luck of the draw that you ended up in Kansas,” Bobinski said. “It wasn’t by design. ... With the speed that this thing comes at us, we don’t have the ability to sit there — nor to the principles and procedures allow us to — cook the bracket and concoct matchups that might be interesting or have some personal angle to it. We just don’t do that.”