Last week I posted about the top eight seeds in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where they stood in their standings right now, and where I saw them seeded come post season. After six days, as well as several games for each squad, let’s check out how each of them is doing. And of course I am doing in my prognostication. The key to the top eight programs is that from 8th to 5th do not have to play the first day of the tournament, while the top four teams will not be on the hardwoods until Friday.
Syracuse is still #1 in the nation and in the conference with a perfect is 25-0 overall and 12-0 in the ACC. Last week the only win was a tight one, this time against N.C. State. Nonetheless the Orange are the top team overall and a one seed in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. This will be a long week for the top team in the nation, with a trio of game, first a home game against Boston College and then two on the road, first with the revenge match against Duke and then against Maryland, who love to have a parting shot against the ACC. If someone is going to take the Orange down it’s going to happen this week.
The number two spot also stays the same as Virginia improves to 22 and 5 and 13-1 in conference play, taking down first Clemson and then Virginia Tech in two pretty close road games. UVa is 13th in the Coaches Poll and 14th in the AP. Virginia is a 3 seed in the ESPN’s Brackets. Two games for the Cavs coming up, both at home, first against Notre Dame and then Miami (Fl). The program needs to win both if they want to a shot at winning the conference. And of course they will still need some help from other programs to take down SU.
The third spot still belongs to Duke, who has now a 21-5 and 10-3 record, having played a pair of match ups since the last check. Defeating Maryland by two at home and then easily taking care of Georgia Tech on the road. Duke is fifth in the AP and sixth in the Coaches poll, while being a three seed in the Brackets. Three games coming up for the Blue Devils. Beginning with the archrival game vs Carolina in Chapel Hill, followed by the top team in the nation at home and then closing out with Va Tech, still at home. This is going to be a make or break week for the Blue Devils, cause they could easily go 3-0 or they could easily lose two of three.
The first change from last week in the standings comes at the fourth spot, where North Carolina moves up a position, with a 18 and 7 (8-4 in ACC) record. In the past seven days the Tar Heels have beaten #25 Pittsburgh at home and then taken down Florida State on the road. As of right now Carolina is only receiving votes in both polls and is slated as a seventh seed by Lunardi. In the next week there are a trio of games coming up for UNC, first off the rivalry game that was postponed against Duke at home, followed by Wake Forest at home and finally N.C. State on the road. Two out of three is a must for the program, winning them all would be a big boost to both the seeding and rankings. Depending on how Duke does UNC could move up, which would be a great thing as they would not have to face SU until the ACCT finals.
In fifth spot is above mentioned Pittsburgh, who is right now with a 20-6 & 8-5 record, having played just one game in the last week, the loss to North Carolina. As of right now the Panthers are also only receiving votes and hold a seventh seed at March Madness. The Panthers only play once this week, going to the sunshine state to take on FSU, a team that is never easy to beat at home. If Pitt wants to avoid playing before Friday in the post season tourney they need to win as many games as they can and try to regain the #4 slot.
My suspicions about N.C. State were pretty dead on, as it has plummeted from the sixth spot, with Clemson right now being the one there. The Tigers went 1-1 last week, losing to #17 Virginia and then beating NC State. Both of the games were at home. Clemson is neither ranked nor in the Big Tournament as of right now. The program has a pair of games coming up, both on the road, against Ga Tech and Wake. They will need both of these games if they want a shot at moving up at all and have a chance at being noticed by the selection committee.
Next up is Maryland, which holds a 15-12 and 7-7 record. In its last season in the ACC the Terps are trying to make some noise when it comes to the hardwoods, last week they went 1 and 1, with a two point loss to Duke on the road followed by double digit win versus Wake Forest. Just like Clemson, Maryland is not in either of the polls or in the bracketology mix. For the Terps only one game this week, vs SU, which will probably mean a loss. This might make them vulnerable to lose a slot.
And finally, for this week at least, the eighth team right now in the ACC is N.C. State, who comes into the mix with a 16-10 (6-7) record after going 0-2 on the week. Losing a tight one on the road to the top team in the nation and then losing, once again on the road, to Clemson. Just like the previous two programs, the Wolfpack are neither in the polls or on the radar for March Madness. With just one game for next week, NC State has to win in order to keep this slot.
A week has past, some movements in the standings have happened, but for Joe Lunardi there are still just five programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference that are worthy of being in the Big Dance. Like I said last week, for the old school guys, who liked it a lot better when the conference was small, seeing two of the staples of the ACC (North Carolina and Duke) being in the top four, and with Pittsburgh sliding, makes things feel a bit better. Now if people would stop with SU/Duke being a rivalry and I would feel even better.