ACC Bubble Analysis for February 23, 2014


ACC basketball is fun to watch again. Elite Teams, bubble madness, Hall of Fame Coaches battling, tons of media coverage… It’s what John Swofford always dreamed of.

Now about those bubble teams…

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.


(8) Syracuse (25-2) (10-2) Projected Seed 1

Last 10 – (8-2)

Good Wins – * (4) Villanova, * (41) Baylor, * (46) Minnesota, * (49) California, (52) St. Johns, (77) E. Michigan, * (22) North Carolina, * (34) Pittsburgh, * (6) Duke, (69) Clemson, * (34) Pittsburgh, (57) NC State, (96) Indiana

Bad Losses  (180) Boston College

Notes – Syracuse went from #1 overall seed to barely holding onto the 4th number 1 seed. The problem is Wichita State and Florida play in bad basketball conferences, and aren’t likely to lose. Arizona can probably lose another game or two, and still be the 1 seed out West. The Final Number 1 seed will be between Kansas and Syracuse at the moment. The loss to Duke can be forgiven, but losing to a mediocre Boston College team cannot. Syracuse has a tough road game at Maryland this week, then a monster matchup with Virginia Saturday. If the Orange loses one of the two, can they still retain a number 1 seed? I believe the committee would really want an Eastern based team as a 1 seed if possible.

(6) Duke (22-6) (11-4) Projected Seed 2

Last 10 – (8-2)

Good Wins – (77) Eastern Michigan, * (13) UCLA, * (18) Michigan, * (15) Virginia, (57) NC State, (68) Florida State, * (34) Pittsburgh, (66) Maryland, (8) Syracuse

Bad Losses – (110) Notre Dame

Notes – Duke is a strong 2 seed. Had they won at UNC, they would have warranted 1 seed consideration. It was a huge win over Syracuse after a tough loss at UNC. The Blue Devils still have issues because of their lack of their size, but if they can continue to get decent minutes from Marshall Plumlee that will help a lot. After such a rough stretch, Duke gets a nice break with Virginia Tech coming to Cameron and then the rest of the week off.

(15) Virginia (23-5) (14-1) Projected Seed 3

Last 10 – (10-0)

Good Wins – * (45) SMU, (57) NC State, (68) Florida State, (68) Florida State, * (22) North Carolina, * (34) Pittsburgh, (66) Maryland, (69) Clemson, (98) Missouri St.

Bad Losses – None

Notes – Virginia got to sit back this back this week, watch all the carnage, and move into first place in the ACC. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said they were the ACC’s best team. That’s high praise, and he could be right. The Cavaliers get Miami at home, then it’s the one for all the ACC marbles, Syracuse comes to Virginia on Saturday for what is likely the ACC regular season title. If Virginia wins that one, they will be a 2 seed here next week.

(22) North Carolina (20-7) (10-4) Projected Seed 4

Last 10 – (9-1)

Good Wins – * (15) Michigan St., * (29) Louisville, * (10) Kentucky, *(47) Richmond, (69) Clemson, (57) NC State, (66) Maryland, * (34) Pittsburgh, *(6) Duke, (68) Florida State

Bad Losses – (135) UAB, (122) Miami, (106) Wake Forest

Notes – North Carolina is playing some of the best basketball in the country, and they are doing it with excellent defense. They got a signature win over Duke this week in a great game. The Heels won at FSU and destroyed Wake Forest at home. North Carolina will try to keep momentum going with a tricky game at NC State, then it’s a visit to Virginia Tech.

(34) Pittsburgh (20-7) (8-6) Projected Seed 10

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – * (40) Stanford, (57) NC State (66) Maryland, (69) Clemson, (66) Maryland

Bad Losses –  None

Notes – Pittsburgh is still in good NCAA shape, but they are a bad loss from the NCAA bubble. That was not a good effort at home in a loss to Florida State. Playing on the road isn’t easy, and Pitt has two this week with games at Boston College and Notre Dame. Just go ahead and win both Pitt before your resume really gets questioned.

Bubble But In


Bubble But Out

(57) NC State (17-10) (7-7) 

Last 10 – (6-4)

Good Wins – (59) Tennessee, (66) Maryland, (68) Florida State

Bad Losses – (126) NC Central, (106) Wake Forest

Notes – NC State just doesn’t have enough on their resume to put them in the NCAAs. The Wolfpack don’t have single top 50 win. That was a crushing loss at Clemson this week. NC State has a must must must win with UNC Wednesday night. Then it’s Miami on March 1st. The Wolfpack need both.

(69) Clemson (17-9) (8-6) 

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – * (6) Duke, (68) Florida State, (57) NC State

Bad Losses – * (160) Auburn, (110) Notre Dame

Notes – It was very solid week for Clemson. They beat fellow bubble team NC State, then went on the road and won at Georgia Tech. The Tigers are very much in the thick of NCAA discussion. Their computer numbers are shaky, but with 3 of their last 4 games at home, the Tigers have given themselves a shot. They have a road game this week at Wake Forest, then a big one Sunday with Maryland. If Clemson wins both games, which are winnable they are in next week. I’m looking at 10-8 as the bubble and 11-7 as the ACC mark that should get them in.

(68) Florida State (16-11) (7-8) 

Last 10 – (4-6)

Good Wins – * (14) UMASS, * (25) VCU, (66) Maryland, (69) Clemson, * (34) Pittsburgh

Bad Losses – (122) Miami

Notes – I said last week that FSU had to find a way to split with UNC and Pittsburgh this week, and that’s exactly what they did. They lost to UNC, but got a monster road win at Pittsburgh. The Noles have an edge on the rest of the bubble teams, because they now have 3 RPI top 50 wins and two really good non-conference wins. With just Georgia Tech this week at home, the Noles should be able to get .500 in the ACC.

(66) Maryland (15-12) (7-7)

Last 10 – (4-6)

Good Wins – (63) Providence, (67) Florida State

Bad Losses – (105) Oregon St.

Notes –  The Terps are still on the fringe of the NCAA discussion, and they probably need to win out to stay in the picture. If they beat Syracuse at home, and Clemson on the road this week, they will get a long look.

Only if they win the ACC Tournament

(106) Wake Forest (14-13) (4-10)

Last 10 – (2-8)

Good Wins – * (47) Richmond, * (22) UNC, (57) NC State, (93) St. Bonaventure

Bad Losses –  (164) Georgia tech

Notes – Wake Forest hasn’t won a game in nearly a month. I don’t see how Wake Forest keeps Jeff Bzdelik after this year. Tuesday they can spoil Clemson’s NCAA chances, then they face Boston College on March 1.

(112) Notre Dame 14-14 (5-10)

Last 10 – (3-7)

Good Wins – * (8) Duke, (64) Delaware, (69) Clemson, (96) Indiana

Bad Losses – * (164) Georgia Tech

Notes – In a 21 point loss at Virginia, we saw just how far Notre Dame is from the upper echelon of the ACC. They also lost at Miami this week. It’s been a forgettable first year in the ACC for the Irish. They will be better. Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh visit Notre Dame this week.

(125) Miami (14-13) (5-9)

Last 10 – (4-6)

Good Wins – * (32) Arizona St., * (22) UNC, (94) LaSalle, (67) Florida State

Bad Losses – * (234) Virginia Tech * (192) St. Francis NY, * (205) UCF, * (234) Virginia Tech

Notes – The Hurricanes got 2 home wins this week over Notre Dame and Boston College. The upcoming week is much tougher with games at Virginia and at NC State. Jim Larranaga still has Miami playing hard.

(164) Georgia Tech (13-14) (4-10) 

Last 10 – (4-6)

Good Wins – (85) Illinois, (89) Georgia

Bad Losses – (125) Miami

Notes – Brian Gregory will enter next season on the hotseat. Georgia Tech was un-competitive against Duke at home, then lost at home to Clemson. Sunday they will head to FSU, and face a Noles teams pushing to make the NCAAs.

(179) Boston College (7-20) (3-11)

Last 10 – (2-8)

Good Wins – (79) Washington, * (8) Syracuse

Bad Losses – * (160) Auburn, (116) Purdue, (164) Georgia Tech, (110) Notre Dame, (158) USC, (110) Notre Dame, (164) Georgia Tech, (125) Miami

Notes – No matter what happens the rest of the year, Boston College will have that inspired win at Syracuse. I’m not sure anyone thought BC could go into the Carrier Dome and win. That was incredible victory. Can they score another big upset with Pittsburgh coming to Boston on Wednesday? They head to Wake Forest on Saturday.

(235) Virginia Tech (9-17) (2-12)

Last 10 – (1-9)

Good Wins – (84) West Virginia

Bad Losses – * (189) SC Upstate, (130) Seton Hall,*(311) UNC Greensboro, * (179) Boston College, (110) Notre Dame, * (179) Boston College, (106) Wake Forest

Notes – Virginia Tech gave Virginia and NC State good games this past week, but couldn’t close the deal. This week they face two of the ACC’s best teams when they visit Duke then host UNC.

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