Heels rise in one poll, fall in another

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
2:27
PM ET
After losing to top-ranked Kentucky 73-72 on Saturday, coaches and media were apparently at odds with what to do with North Carolina, which was ranked No. 5 in both polls.

In the end, the media -- which votes in the Associated Press poll -- pushed the Tar Heels up a spot, to No. 4, ahead of unbeaten Louisville and Baylor, and Duke, which lost to No. 2 Ohio State. The coaches -- who vote in the ESPN/USAToday poll -- dropped the Tar Heels to No. 6, opting to push Louisville to No. 4, and keep the one-loss Blue Devils ahead of two-loss UNC. Both polls can be studied here.

In his 3-point shot this morning, ESPN.com's Andy Katz made the case for pushing UNC to No. 3 (below Kentucky and Ohio State, but above No. 3 and unbeaten Syracuse):
"I know. I know. UNC didn’t beat Kentucky," he wrote before the polls were published. "But can you honestly watch that game and not see one of the top three teams in the country? Syracuse is the current No. 3 and will stay that way when the polls are released Monday afternoon. I don’t have an issue with the Orange being No. 3, but after watching both teams in person and on television, North Carolina has more talent and has played a tougher schedule."

Me? I think Andy makes a great point, but I err on the side of what a team has done, rather than what it has the potential to do. Perhaps UNC shouldn't have lost to UNLV by 10 points, but it did. UNC could have beaten Kentucky, but it didn't. Is UNC one of the top three teams in the country? Yes. So its strength of schedule, even with its two losses, should keep it in the top 5. But it needs to consistently play like a top-three team if it wants to move back up.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.

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