Losing to a ranked team on that team's home court isn't the worst thing that can happen to your power ranking in college hoops. However, when it comes to claiming a top seed in the NCAA tournament the standard is pretty high. Heading into this week the North Carolina Tar Heels were on the bubble for a top seed, ranked 5th in the AP Poll and 5th in RPI. They certainly could have hoped to win their rest of their games ahead of Selection Sunday to earn a top seed, but those hopes were largely dashed on Monday night.

The Tar Heels dropped a bad one

The Tar Heels were in Virginia taking on the 23rd-ranked Cavaliers.

The Cavs were able to post a 10-point win in the game, holding North Carolina to just 43 points. "Tonight I don't think it was as much what we did wrong as much as how good their defense was," Roy Williams, the head coach of North Carolina, said after the game (qtd. at ESPN). The comment looks crafted to credit Virginia with a win while somehow not crediting North Carolina with a loss. It's a nice try.

The victory for the Cavs gives them a new lease on playing into a top-four seed in the March Madness tournament. The poll rankings certainly don't determine seedings, but the insight still can't be ignored. A ranking of 23rd in the AP Poll implies a 6 seed in March, which isn't a terrible spot to be as it puts you opposite to the No.

1 seed in whatever region you fall in. However, with a win over a top-five team, Virginia can hope to move up in the rankings, maybe even into the mid-teen range.

They host a game against Pittsburgh this weekend that is must win in order for that to happen. You can't beat a high-ranked team and lose to a low-ranked one with hopes of moving up.

After Pitt then it's time for conference tourneys and UVA have to be thinking four seed in the national tournament.

For the Tar Heels, they have a big game against Duke coming up. It's one that North Carolina will host and that will give them the edge. Duke themselves have a good win this week, already upending Florida State.

If North Carolina loses then they should tumble right out of the top ten. A win and they might stay as a projected two seed.

ACC Tournament will be huge (Mar. 7-11)

Of course, both Duke and North Carolina will have the ACC tournament as well. A No. 1 seed is out of reach for the Blue Devils, a team with seven losses, but if the Tar Heels can beat Duke and win the ACC Tournament, then they can get back into the No. 1 picture. They would need to hope for a crack in the armor from teams currently in the top four. Not only that but there are other teams in the mix as well, like Oregon, Arizona, and Kentucky.

The top-four teams in the AP Poll right now are Kansas, Villanova, UCLA, and Gonzaga. The Zags are done for the regular season, and the other three teams have unranked foes remaining before their conference tourneys.

But if North Carolina can run the tables they can hope for one of the top teams to lose. There are other teams in the picture too, but winning the ACC, given how powerful the conference is, would count for a lot.

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