It’s only December, but it’s not too early to start discussing which ACC basketball teams have used the first month of the season to raise some eyebrows. You always know when the calendar hits late late January and February work done in November and December can be the difference between an NCAA bid or not.
There no reason to really talk about Duke (9-1) and North Carolina (9-2), they will be in the NCAAs it’s just a matter of whether they will be 1,2 or 3 seeds.
Virginia dismantled Oregon 67-54 in Eugene behind 17 from Michael Scott Sunday. The Cavaliers have made the biggest early statement of ACC teams not named North Carolina or Duke. The Cavaliers are 9-1 now; with in addition to the win over Oregon own a win over a good Michigan team. They will likely be 12-1 heading to road game at LSU January 2nd, and will challenge FSU as the ACC’s third best team.
Florida State was the consensus pre-season #3 pick in the ACC, but lost to the three best teams they played, Harvard, UCONN, and Michigan St. The loss to UCONN was particularly distressing because the Noles held a late 2nd half lead they couldn’t hold on to. They did beat a decent UCF team. They did defeat Connecticut. FSU sits 8-3 and is still one of the ACC’s better teams, though they failed to establish themselves as a threat to UNC and Duke. No worries though they will make the NCAAs.
I think Duke, North Carolina are locks. Virginia and FSU barring major collapses look good too, but after that? I think there is at least 1 more spot for sure, maybe 2.
Virginia Tech’s (8-3) resume at the moment looks no worse than Florida State’s. There aren’t any bad losses, but no marquee wins. The Hokies own a couple of decent OOC wins over Oklahoma St, and St. Bonaventure. Norfolk St. is a high RPI (30) win at the moment, but that will probably drop some. There are still games with Oklahoma St. and BYU OOC that can pad things. They would be in if selection Sunday were today.
NC State (6-4) beat Texas (9-2) which is strong, but beyond that there isn’t much despite not having any bad losses. The Wolfpack let games with Stanford, Indiana, and Syracuse get away. Even just one win in those games would have helped considerably. Today they’d be headed to the NIT.
Miami (6-4) doesn’t have any noteworthy wins, but the recent return of C Reggie Johnson makes them a threat. Unfortunately they having nothing to fall back on non-conference wise, they need a strong ACC season.
Anyone else out there? Of the remaining ACC teams only Georgia Tech has two wins over RPI top 100 teams. That being their win over (70) VCU and road win at (86) Georgia , which will hold some weight if the Jackets finish say around 8-8 or 9-7 in the ACC. The problem is I don’t think Georgia Tech has enough consistent scoring to pull off a .500 or better record in the ACC. An NIT appearance would be nice accomplishment in Brian Gregory’s first season.