Bubbling up: Tar Heels increase NCAA hopes with key Quad 1 win

After a loss to Pittsburgh, North Carolina's chances of an NCAA Tournament berth were even less likely.

Bubbling up: Tar Heels increase NCAA hopes with key Quad 1 win

The Tar Heels did not have any marquee wins but had also suffered no losses. With Wednesday's 76 to67 home defeat to the Panthers (ranked 170th in NET rankings), they put one in the negative column.

It was North Carolina's first loss in 18 games against Quadrant 4 teams from Quads 2 and 4, which surely ended its chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament.

Then, Saturday's win over Virginia Tech at 65-57 was the next step. After seven attempts, the Tar Heels finally won a Quad 1 victory that placed them back on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Hubert Davis, North Carolina coach, said that there have been instances when they've been hurt. "And they seem always to get back up, and continue fighting."

North Carolina (19-8 Atlantic Coast Conference, 11-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), has won the majority of the games it expected to win since Roy Williams' replacement. The only problem for the Tar Heels was losing in marquee games to No. 5 Purdue, No. 16 Tennessee, No. 4 Kentucky, No. 9 Duke.

Their only win in resume building was over No. 24 Michigan's luster in December was diminished by the Wolverines' struggles and they dropped down the NET rankings.

This has changed recently as Michigan, which beat Purdue and Iowa to climb up the NET rankings. The Wolverines climbed to No. 29 in the most recent NET rankings. This gave North Carolina two Quad 1 wins over Michigan in nine attempts. It is uncertain whether it will stay that way after Michigan's loss to No. 15 Wisconsin on Sunday.

The Tar Heels cannot afford to make any mistakes as the season winds down. They'll have another Quad 1 opportunity against Duke in the regular-season finale.

Armando Bacot, North Carolina's leading rebounder and scorer, said that "we've done an excellent job this year of bounce back." It's now getting into crunch time. It's up to us to figure out how we can avoid any lapses throughout the season, and to really lock in.

RISE FAST

Florida (17-10, 7-7 SEC). Gators suffered a one-point loss to Texas A&M. The win over No. A win over No. 2 Auburn four days later was a huge boost to your resume.

Michigan (14-11; 8-7 Big Ten). After some early-season struggles, the Wolverines won a huge win over Purdue. They also beat another bubble team Iowa. The No. Coach Juwan Howard's team suffered a disappointing loss to No. 15 Wisconsin on Sunday.

Rutgers (16-9, 10-5 Big Ten). The Scarlet Knights won four consecutive wins over ranked opponents, despite having little chance of making it back to the NCAA Tournament a few weeks ago.

Belmont (24-5, 14-2 Ohio Valley). Two games behind No. The Bears are two games behind No. 21 Murray State in standings. However, a 10-game winning streak places them in a position to potentially turn the Ohio Valley into an all-bid league. They also get another shot at the Racers Thursday.

FADING HOPES

Oregon (17-10, 10-6 Pac-12). After a disappointing loss to California, the Ducks won a convincing victory over Washington State. Oregon suffers three losses in four from the Pac-12's desert schools, and it is now out of the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Brigham Young (19-9, 7-6 West Coast). A strong start to the season turned to a slump with five losses in seven games. The latest loss was to Saint Mary's, a bubble team.

Loyola Chicago (20-6; 11-4 Missouri Valley). The Ramblers moved closer to the edge by losing seven points to Drake at home. If Sister Jean is to return to the NCAA Tournament, they'll need a strong finish.

TCU (16-8, 5-7 Big 12). The Horned Frogs are now in dire need of a strong finish to a stretch that includes two games against No. 6 Kansas and West Virginia

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