For the first time since February, 2001, UNC is the #1 ranked team in the nation according to the AP and coaches poll. In the AP poll UNC garnered 64 of 72 first place votes ahead of #2 Florida, #3 Wisconsin, #4 UCLA, and #5 Ohio State. The Heels received 27 of 31 first place in the coaches poll ahead of the same four teams with Wisconsin and UCLA swapping places.
The last time UNC went to #1 they were riding an 18 game winning streak under first year coach Matt Doherty. UNC then went to Clemson and lost at Littlejohn. UNC did not seem to be the same after that eventually losing the ACC title game to Duke and a second round NCAA Tournament game to Penn State. During the 2005 National Championship season, UNC reached #2 in the polls and entered the tournament at #2 behind one loss Illinois who they eventually beat in the title game.
My feelings about the #1 ranking at this point in the season are mixed. I love seeing UNC ranked #1 but at the same time it has no meaning right now. In fact I think it means more to the opposing team than it does to the team ranked #1. Being the top team according to the polls means you are guranteed to get everyone’s best shot, especially on the road with fans who would love to see their team knock off #1. Of course UNC gets everyone’s best shot anyway, but the ranking ratchets that up another notch. Roy Williams downplayed the ranking during the press conference last night saying it was not important as this point in the season. I tend to agree with that considering the 2005 never made it that high and still won the title. Of course if you do get it, you should at least hold onto it for 2-3 weeks before giving it up. There is nothing worse than giving it up the same week you get it.