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We've looked at the intrinsic factors affecting North Carolina's tournament chances, now lets look at the extrinsic elements that will lead to a tournament birth.
A good place to start is the North Carolia Tar Heels' remaining schedule.
There are eight games left for the Tar Heels in the regular season—four at home and four away. The Tar Heels have played great at home and horrible on the road, so luckily for them three of their four games against tournament quality opponents will be in Chapel Hill.
Similarly, three out of their next four games are against teams that will be in the NCAA Tournament or will at least be vying for a spot in it.
The Tar Heels will travel to Cameron Indoor to face the Duke Blue Devils tomorrow night, and a win over their bitter rivals would do wonders for the Tar Heels' tournament chances. It may even put them strongly in the field with no major slip-ups the rest of the way.
With 16 wins already, you might think that the Tar Heels would have to win five out of those eight games to solidly make the tournament. If Carolina can beat Virginia and Florida State at home and take care of Georgia Tech, Clemson and Maryland on the road, that would bring them to 21 wins. Even if they lose against NC State and both games to Duke, it would still be tough to leave a 21 win Carolina team out of the tournament.
When you figure they should also get a bottom feeder in the first round of the ACC Tournament, a win would get them to 22 wins.
As I alluded to in the first slide, the big albatross hanging around the Tar Heels' neck is their lack of a signature win. If the do get swept by Miami, NC State and Duke, would the selection committee take that into consideration more than 21 or 22 wins?
It remains to be seen, but the Tar Heels' remaining schedule gives them every opportunity to erase that question and every other question surrounding them if they can play well.