ACC Bubble Analysis for January 19, 2014


Some in the national media called the ACC the country’s most disappointing basketball conference, but maybe it’s actually pretty good. I’m not saying the ACC is the nation’s best conference. It isn’t (too weak at bottom), but when you look at this weeks’s RPI the ACC leads all conferences with the most RPI top 25 teams at 5.  It was a prevalent narrative through most of the early basketball season, but several ACC teams are making recent strong pushes proving those critics wrong.

In my ranking system, any RPI top (100) win is a good win and any RPI top (50) obviously worth more. Any losses outside the RPI top (100) is considered a bad loss, and outside the RPI (150) are even more damaging. I’m not counting future results only if I think a team would make the NCAA’s if selections were made the day of the post.

Teams get a “*” for top 50 good wins or “*” greater 150 losses.

My RPI rankings come from, CBSSportsline.com.

This is going to be a weekly article, where I seed the ACC teams where I think they’d placed if the tournament started the same day as my posting.


(5) Syracuse (18-0) (5-0) Projected Seed 1

Last 10 – (10-0)

Good Wins – * (2) Villanova * (43) Baylor, * (32) Minnesota, * (31) California, (80) Indiana,  (97) St. Johns, * (42) E. Michigan, (56) North Carolina, (81) Miami, * (19) Pittsburgh

Bad Losses -None

Notes – Syracuse got pushed by Pittsburgh this week, but the Orange won adding another nice win to their already splendid resume. Keep an eye on the game at Miami on the 25th though. The Canes gave the Orange problems earlier this year in the Carrier Dome. A close game wouldn’t surprise me at all.

(17) Duke (14-4) (3-2) Projected Seed 4

Last 10 – (8-2)

Good Wins – * (42) Eastern Michigan, * (27) UCLA, * (26) Michigan, * (25) Virginia, (78) NC State, (97) Alabama

Bad Losses – NONE

Notes – My how just 1 week can change the perception of Duke. Last week the Blue Devils sat 1-2 in the ACC and searching for answers. This week they beat the ACC’s hottest team outside of Syracuse in Virginia, and destroyed a decent NC State team in Durham. A tough, but critical week awaits with a game at Miami, then FSU at home.

(19) Pittsburgh (16-2) (4-1) Projected Seed 5

Last 10 – (8-2)

Good Wins – (54) Stanford, (78) NC St., (66) Wake Forest, (71) Maryland

Bad Losses –  None

Notes – Pittsburgh proved just how good they were, by nearly knocking off Syracuse. Pitt still lacks elite wins, so that will hurt their seeding a bit. They get a dangerous Clemson team at home this week, then head to Maryland on the 25th.

(25) Virginia (13-5) (4-1) Projected Seed 6

Last 10 – (6-4)

Good Wins – (77) Missouri St.,  * (41) SMU, (71) Northern Iowa, * (24) Florida State, (67) Wake Forest, (78) NC State, * (24) Florida State

Bad Losses – None

Notes – I’m not going to hold Virginia’s loss at Duke against them. They very nearly ended up winning that game. The Cavs turned around and roughed up a good FSU team. I really like the way Virginia is playing. Joe Harris is finding his game and UVA has the look and feel of  a solid NCAA team. If they sweep UNC and Wake Forest at home, I may have to consider them for a top 4 seed.

(24) Florida State (12-5) (3-2) Projected Seed 8

Last 10 – (7-3)

Good Wins – * (4) UMASS, * (45) VCU, (71) Maryland, (79) Clemson, (81) Miami

Bad Losses – None

Notes – FSU wants no part of Virginia anymore this year. It was a good win down at Miami, but Virginia pretty easily handled the Noles in Charlottesville. Tuesday they face Notre Dame at home, then it’s a tough one at Duke Saturday.

Bubble But In

(56) North Carolina (11-6) (1-3) Projected Seed 11

Last 10 – (6-4)

Good Wins – * (7) Michigan St., * (27) Louisville, * (11) Kentucky, (61) Richmond

Bad Losses – (137) UAB

Notes – UNC didn’t play all that well against Boston College, but they won and that’s all that matters. I don’t like their matchup at Virginia Monday, but if they get at least a split by beating Clemson at home, they’ll stay in the Big Dance. Of course a sweep of both would be even better.

(79) Clemson (13-4) (4-1) Projected Seed 12

Last 10 – (7-3)

Good Wins – * (17) Duke, (66) Wake Forest

Bad Losses – * (189) Auburn

Notes –  I debated putting Clemson in the field this week, but they are tied for 2nd in ACC and at least for this week they’ve earned a spot in the tournament. Their entry might be short lived as the schedule really gets tough with games at Pittsburgh and UNC. Could this be the year Clemson wins in Chapel Hill? A split keeps them in the Big Dance.

Bubble But Out

(66) Wake Forest (12-6) (2-3) 

Last 10 – (6-4)

Good Wins – (61) Richmond, (56) UNC, (78) NC State, (89) St. Bonaventure

Bad Losses – None

Notes – Wake Forest is really not in bad position, but they’ve got to find a way to win a couple of road games in the ACC. The RPI is decent, and there are 4 top 100 wins. This is a critical week for the Deacs. Virginia Tech is winnable on the road, and then they get Notre Dame at home. Win both and they are back in. Wake Forest has to be at .500 or better in conference to make the NCAAs.

(71) Maryland (11-7) (3-2)

Last 10 – (6-4)

Good Wins – * (48) Providence, (71) Northern Iowa

Bad Losses – (127) Oregon St.

Notes –  The Terps are in much the same position as Wake Forest. Their computer numbers are decent, and there is an opportunity to make a move. This past week they lost at FSU, but beat Notre Dame at home. Should they win at NC State, then get beat Pittsburgh at home this week, they’ll warrant serious consideration at 5-2 in the conference.

(78) NC State (11-7) (1-4) 

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – (58) Tennessee

Bad Losses – (126) NC Central

Notes – NC State has lost 3 games in a row, and were clobbered by Duke in Durham. NC State is not dead yet, but they need to sweep their two home games this week. Maryland and Georgia Tech visit Raleigh, and those are must wins for the Wolfpack.

(81) Miami (10-7) (2-3)

Last 10 – (6-4)

Good Wins – (60) Arizona St., (56) UNC, (64) LaSalle

Bad Losses – * (188) Virginia Tech (149) St. Francis NY, * (220) UCF

Notes – The Hurricanes are an extremely dangerous team. They couldn’t beat FSU at home, but they thumped Georgia Tech in Atlanta. I think Miami can get into the NCAA discussion, if they beat either Duke or Syracuse at home this week. I have feeling they’ll throw a scare in one of them if not both. Jim Larranaga again proving what a good coach he is with the improvement his Canes have shown in recent weeks.

(101) Notre Dame 11-7 (2-3)

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – (80) Indiana, * (17) Duke, (70) Canisius, (84) Delaware

Bad Losses – * (152) Georgia Tech

Notes – Notre Dame snapped a 3 game losing streak by beating Virginia Tech at home. I just have a feeling the Irish are going to go on a little run in the next few weeks. They have road games at FSU and Wake Forest this week. A sweep would be huge, but a split is a must.

Only if they win the ACC Tournament

(152) Georgia Tech (10-8) (1-4) 

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – (57) Illinois

Bad Losses – (108) Vanderbilt

Notes – Georgia Tech played reasonably well in losing to Pitt, but it was a terrible performance losing by 14 at home to Miami. The Jackets shot 29% in that game. It looks like we may be able to call in a night on the season for them. You don’t want to say that in January.

(188) Virginia Tech (8-9) (1-4)

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – (96) West Virginia, (81) Miami

Bad Losses – * (212) SC Upstate, (113) Seton Hall,*(302) UNC Greensboro, (138) Boston College

Notes – Virginia Tech is still competing they just aren’t any good. They have lost 3 games in row by single digits. Wake Forest struggles on the road and that gives the Hokies a chance this week at an ACC win. At Virginia, doesn’t look promising.

(138) Boston College (5-13) (1-4)

Last 10 – (1-9)

Good Wins – None

Bad Losses – (189) Auburn, (103) USC

Notes – Despite their record, head coach Steve Donahue hasn’t lost this team. They gave both Syracuse and UNC tough games on the road. This is still a pretty poor defensive team, but they can shoot, and I think they are going to win a couple of more ACC games. They get reeling Georgia Tech this week at home.

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