ACC Basketball Tournament: The Top Seeds…

ACC BB logoAs of right now it seems that most everywhere you look where there is an NCAA Bracket the Atlantic Coast Conference has six teams going to the big dance. While most head coaches and programs give us the “one game at a time” spiel when asked about anything past their next match up, the fun of being a blogger is that at over a month from Selection Sunday I can look at the remaining schedule of the top ACC teams and guesstimate where all the squads could end up.

First off we have a former Big East squad in Syracuse leading the way, being the top dog not only in the conference but in all of college basketball. As of right now, after beating another former Big East squad in Pittsburgh at the buzzer, is 24-0 overall and 11-0 in the conference. The Orange have seven games left (3 at home/4 on the road) in the season, two of them against Top 25 teams, both of them away from the Carrier Dome. At best this squad could finish the season without a blemish, while at worst it could have a pair of losses. I will stay even keel and give it one losses, putting SU at 30 and 1 overall and 17 and 1 in ACC going into the post season. One thing that could change their overall record, but not their overall position in the conference is if the last few games head coach Jim Boeheim decides to rest his stars for the post season.

Next up is another Top 25 team in Virginia, who right now has a 20-5 overall record and 11-1 in the ACC and holds the #17 spot in the rankings. This team has just six games left before the post season, split between three at home and three on the road, the second to last one hosting the top team in the nation in SU. Besides Syracuse the only other two match ups where the opponents have something to play for are Clemson and Maryland, both road trips for UVa. I do not see this program losing more than one game from now until the end of the season, most likely that being against the Orange, putting them with a 25 and 6 overall record and 16 and 2 in the conference.

ACC Tournament Format

The third squad of the ACC is Duke (19-5 & 8-3 in ACC), who has still seven games left before the ACC Post Season tournament. Due to the postponed game against archrival North Carolina, the Blue Devils will have a three game in four night stretch, with two games on the road in Maryland and UNC and then a home game against the top program in the nation in Syracuse. In all, whether this program wins out the rest of its schedule or not, they will come no higher than third in the conference (unless catastrophe hits the first two teams mentioned), but if they were to lose a pair of games they could even drop to fourth, but no lower, keeping them from having to play before Friday at the ACC Tournament. I see the Blue Devils going 5 and 2 to close out the season, letting them finish up at 24 and 7 overall and 13 and 5 in the ACC.

The last ranked squad in the conference and another from the Big East, Pittsburgh, has a record of 20-5 overall and 8-4 in the conference with a half dozen games left. The Panthers have no Top 25 teams left in their schedule, but plenty of teams that are fighting to get in 20+ games for the season, beginning with UNC first up and N.C. State and Clemson to close out the season. Here is the problem for this program, they would need to beat out Duke straight out in order to jump over them in the standings, since the Blue Devils beat the Panthers in the only head to head match up. In the end I see Pitt winning five out of the last six, putting the program at 25-6 and 13-5 in the conference. This would tie the squad with Duke and put them fourth in the conference.

The great part about the race between the second through fourth squad is that it’s so close that none will be able to take “a game off” before the ACC post season tournament. This bodes well for the fan bases, the conference overall, the television ratings and, of course, Syracuse, who could just be able to relax a bit before the beginning of the second season.

ACC TournamentThe best of the rest will begin with UNC, who is 16 and 7 (6-4 in ACC). The Tar Heels should be able to finish up at either 6 and 2 or 5 and 3, putting the program at over 20 wins overall and 10 in the conference. This should put UNC as the fifth seed.

Another team from Tobacco Road is right now the sixth seed in N.C. State (16-8 & 6-5 ACC), looking at a two of the top squads on the road, in-state foe UNC at home and Clemson away from Raleigh, I have a feeling that the Wolfpack would not go higher than a 3-4 record to close out. This means that N.C. State would finish up at 19-12 and 9-9 in the ACC.

Clemson and Maryland, who are both behind N.C. State as of right now, should be able to jump over the Wolfpack by finishing strong. Both ending up with double figure wins in the conference.

Being the top nine teams in the conference means that you do not have to play on Wednesday. The two races that should be looked at the most is the one between Duke and Pitt, as who gets the fourth seed would have to take on Syracuse to get to the final game of the tournament. The other game to watch out for is the 8th and 9th spot one. With the winner having to face the Orange in the Quarterfinals. The 8/9 game is going to be critical since right now only six teams from this conference look to make it to the Big Dance and in order for any other to push their way into March Madness they will need to win games, including some in the post season tournament.

Let me finish with this… for the Atlantic Coast Conference traditionalists (like myself), having two of the top four squads in the conference being from the former Big East can not be something to be proud of. And with Louisville coming into the mix next season you could say that as of right now three of the top five squads in the ACC were not of the conference last season.

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  1. ACC Basketball Tournament: Week in review (02/19/14) » All Sports Discussion says:

    […] week I posted about the top eight seeds in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where they stood in their standings […]

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