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Why UNC has planned a midweek game against Northeastern and what it means for NCAA tournament odds




At the heart of its ACC schedule and in the throes of a battle to build a rsum worthy of a major NCAA Tournament bid, North Carolina sent out a tweet Monday morning that reeked of despair.

“We are looking forward to a home game this week (February 16-18),” de team account announced. “If you are interested, please contact us.”

Yes, North Carolina, the team with the most Final Four appearances in Division I and with the third most NCAA championships, really wanted teams to slide into the DMs for some action.

That’s because UNC has been hit by COVID-related postponement. So on the heels of the February 16 home game against Virginia Tech that was postponed over the weekend due to pandemic issues within the Hokies program, it sent out a call to the community of college hoops to try and fill a hole in the schedule in the final. to fill. hour.

“We’re just looking at what’s out there,” UNC coach Roy Williams said on Monday about the tweet in the weekly ACC coaches conference call. “We have lost three home games and don’t necessarily see that there will be a great chance of getting those games back. All three are home conferences, so we would like to see if anything fits.”

Nine hours and 19 minutes later, UNC found something that fit into a tight schedule and revealed – where else? on Twitter that it will play Northeastern on Wednesday at Chapel Hill. It got a home game, after all, against a Huskies team that’s 9-7 overall and second in the standings in the Colonial. It got one because it got desperate.

UNC was cornered

A home game for North Carolina against Clemson on January 9 was postponed. That also applied to the home game against Miami on February 8. The Hokies-Tar Heels match on February 16 also met the same fate.

UNC has not only lost crucial ACC games over the course of the season, which typically offer quality opportunities to build the rsum. But it has lost a disproportionate number of home games.

“We’ve played six home games,” Williams said Monday. “It’s not a good situation. We’re just trying to see if we can find more games here.”

For reference, ACC leader Virginia has played nine home games. Statewide, Duke and NC State have played 10 each.

It’s not like North Carolina had a ton of options here, nor did it have the luxury of being selective, as Blue Blood usually has. It clearly wanted a stronger opponent to make up for missed opportunities against ACC enemies. But given the limited time working on a tight window and desperate for someone willing to meet a specific set of needs, it made the most of a tricky situation.

Last-minute reprieve from Miami looms

Due to the pandemic, it’s not uncommon for teams to take days off during this time of year, causing games to be postponed, moved or downright canceled. But of the three home games for UNC that have been postponed, one – scheduled for February 8 against Miami – is emerging due to the desperate attempt to increase the schedule.

That game was postponed hours before the tip after video surfaced of UNC players partying maskless after their victory over Duke on Saturday, February 6. Miami had already made the trek to Chapel Hill but went back home without playing the game because it was not I am not satisfied with the proposal to face UNC players who had partied 48 hours earlier and did not follow strict guidelines for social distance.

“This [the Virginia Tech game] is our third cancellation, ”said Williams. One of them we were the main factor, so we can’t say much about anything. “

Bubble ramifications

With 12-7 in the season (and 7-5 in ACC game), North Carolina is in an unusual place as a bubble team. Jerry Palm listed the Tar Heels as one of the first four teams on Monday from from the field of 68 teams. That’s the subtext of this last-minute attempt to put together a match-up with a team willing to meet within such a small window on a street. UNC needs games, and it needs wins too.

The problem is, this game doesn’t do UNC much favors.

His file has so far not lacked opportunities; it is missing because it has not been great in the odds it has been given. UNC is 1-6 in Quadrant 1 odds in the NET, and 5-1 in Quadrant 2 games. It’s 4-0 in Quad 3 and 2-0 in Quad 4.

A home game against Northeastern qualifies as a Quadrant 3 match for the time being. The truth is, it’s a game that will marginally help UNC’s total revenue when it wins, but hurts when it loses. A Quad 3 win isn’t as nice as a Quad 3 loss would be ugly. A win would be a win, but in a buy game against this caliber of opponent, it doesn’t come close to what an ACC game could offer.

As a result, North Carolina should roll. And even better, it’s a chance to stretch your legs in a competitive game ahead of Saturday’s impending Louisville game. It may not affect the pressure to get out of the bubble, but if nothing else, it prevents the team from going a week between games and provides some stability in a season that has very little of it had.

“It’s hard to get into rhythm. It’s hard to get into a routine. It’s hard to get into what everyone is used to,” Williams said Monday. “With seven of our freshmen, they have no idea what’s going to happen one to another. It’s an unusual situation we all find ourselves in.”

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