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Where will UNC be seeded when the selection committee reveals its top 16 teams Saturday?

UNC coach Roy Williams compares improvement on defense to a wife’s cooking

UNC basketball coach Roy Williams compares improvement on defense to a wife's cooking during his weekly press conference, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.
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UNC basketball coach Roy Williams compares improvement on defense to a wife's cooking during his weekly press conference, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.

When the selection committee reveals its current top 16 seeds for the NCAA tournament on Saturday, North Carolina will most certainly be one them.

But the question is, how high? And is it possible to reach a No. 1 seed by the end of the season?

Based on the NCAA’s new NET rankings, which takes into account quality of wins and offensive and defensive efficiency, UNC (18-4, 8-1) will likely be at best a No. 2 seed and at worst a No. 3.

The Tar Heels are ranked No. 8 in the latest NET Rankings, behind Virginia, Gonzaga, Duke, Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan and Houston.

This ranking may have been different a month ago after a 21-point loss to Louisville dropped the Tar Heels to 12-4. Since then, UNC has won six straight and is tied atop the ACC standings with Virginia (20-1, 8-1) and Duke (20-2, 8-1). UNC has the seventh-most efficient offense in the country, according to kenpom.com, and 16th-most efficient defense.

The Tar Heels are currently 5-4 in Quadrant 1 games, 5-0 in Quadrant 2 games, 4-0 in Quadrant 3 games and 4-0 in Quadrant 4 games.

Michigan State and Kansas lead the country with eight Quadrant 1 wins. Last year, the NCAA implemented the quadrant system, which puts more of an emphasis on away games to help with its NCAA tournament selection process. The Tar Heels were a beneficiary of the new system, finishing with 14 Quadrant 1 wins and earning a No. 2 seed last season.

The seeding is subject to change, depending on how the rest of the regular season and conference tournaments shake out. So the Tar Heels do have an outside shot at a No. 1 seed if they can win the majority of their games and the ACC tournament and get a little help from the teams ranked higher than they are.

The Tar Heels seem to be clicking at the right time and could be getting a couple of key reserves — sophomore forward Sterling Manley and freshman forward/guard Leaky Black — back from injuries before the end of the season.

UNC has five Quadrant 1 games remaining on its schedule, including Virginia at home, and Duke twice — at home and on the road.

Here is a look at the rest of UNC’s schedule:

Feb. 9 vs. Miami

Record: 10-12

NET Rankings: 93

KenPom ranking: 82

Feb. 11 vs. Virginia

Record: 20-1

NET Rankings: 1

KenPom ranking: 1

Feb. 16 at Wake Forest

Record: 9-13

NET Rankings: 195

KenPom ranking: 181

Feb. 20 at Duke

Record: 20-2

NET Rankings: 3

KenPom ranking: 2

Feb. 23 vs. Florida State

Record: 17-5

NET Rankings: 27

KenPom ranking: 22

Feb. 26 vs. Syracuse

Record: 16-7

NET Rankings: 48

KenPom ranking: 43

March 2 at Clemson

Record: 14-8

NET Rankings: 46

KenPom ranking: 35

March 5 at Boston College

Record: 11-10

NET Rankings: 137

KenPom ranking: 126

March 9 vs. Duke

Record: 20-2

NET Rankings: 3

KenPom ranking: 2

UNC vs. Miami

Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill

When: Saturday, 12 p.m.

TV: Raycom Sports

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Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.
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