North Carolina Basketball: Tar Heels' Blueprint to Climbing the ACC Standings

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North Carolina Basketball: Tar Heels' Blueprint to Climbing the ACC Standings
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Where North Carolina basketball will finish in the ACC standings doesn't rest solely on the players and coaches of the Tar Heels. Sitting four games behind Miami—and losing both head-to-head matches—there is no shot for UNC to earn its third straight regular-season title.

But the Tar Heels do have a shot to take Duke's No. 2 spot, and they could control their own destiny when the two meet again to close out the ACC season.

That could mean a lot to this team that was all but counted out after starting conference play at 0-2. The NIT chants rained down, and conference foes pounced on the opportunity label this team a joke.

The only chuckles we're hearing these days is coming from the Carolina fans that continued to believe the team would pull through.

Carolina's ship never sank. The players and coaches continued to bail water until they found the hole. Then Roy Williams stuffed it with a 6'6", 220-pound guard/forward named P.J. Hairston.

The Tar Heels are alive again. And though they don't have a shot to raise another regular-season banner in the rafters, they could still raise one to honor a 2013 ACC tournament title.

Topping Duke for the No. 2 seed would be nice, but finishing in the top four will at least earn the team a bye in the first round. The following is a blueprint for how North Carolina can get it done.

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