ACC Bubble Analysis for March 9, 2014


Congratulations to the Virginia Cavaliers for clinching the top seed in the ACC Tournament. It might be unofficial, but I’m calling them the ACC regular season champions.

How did their win over Syracuse affect their NCAA position, and how did it affect Syracuse’s? Anyone else make a move?

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.


(7) Syracuse (26-3) (13-3) Projected Seed 2

Last 10 – (7-3)

Good Wins – * (5) Villanova, * (46) Baylor, * (47) Minnesota, (51) California, (60) St. Johns, (85) E. Michigan, * (21) North Carolina, * (43) Pittsburgh, * (8) Duke, (75) Clemson, * (43) Pittsburgh, (73) N.C. State, (90) Indiana, (76) Maryland

Bad Losses  – (173) Boston College

Notes – When you lose 3 of your last 4, it’s going to be very difficult to hold onto a number 1 seed, especially when three of the four 1 seeds are locked in. Wichita St., Florida, and Arizona are clear number 1’s.  Kansas’s loss opened up number 4, and even though Syracuse beat Villanova earlier in the year, the Wildcats pull ahead due to better recent play. In addition, that BC loss is a real black eye. This week Syracuse struggled at Maryland, and then were completely outplayed in the last 10 minutes of their game with Virginia. Georgia Tech should provide a breeze, but then it’s a very dangerous trip to Florida State.

(8) Duke (23-6) (12-4) Projected Seed 2

Last 10 – (8-2)

Good Wins – (85) Eastern Michigan, * (22) UCLA, * (12) Michigan, * (10) Virginia, (73) N.C. State, (58) Florida State, * (43) Pittsburgh, (76) Maryland, (7) Syracuse, (98) Vermont

Bad Losses – (118) Notre Dame

Notes – Duke got some much needed rest this past week with their only game being Virginia Tech at home. This week they play at reeling Wake Forest, and then it’s a monster game with red hot North Carolina. Duke is not out of the 1 seed discussion either. Syracuse, Duke, and Virginia all have a shot at it.

(10) Virginia (25-5) (16-1) Projected Seed 2

Last 10 – (10-0)

Good Wins – * (39) SMU, (73) N.C. State, (58) Florida State, (58) Florida State, * (21) North Carolina, * (43) Pittsburgh, (76) Maryland, (75) Clemson, (98) Missouri St., (7) Syracuse, (97) Missouri St.

Bad Losses – None

Notes – The ACC may not have a number 1 seed, but 3 number 2’s is some vintage ACC stuff. The Hoos are just blowing people out of the gym. They had two impressive home wins this past week, knocking off an improving Miami, then the really big victory when they beat Syracuse. They get a week’s rest before playing at Maryland Sunday. Virginia can’t overlook a talented but inconsistent Maryland squad.

(21) North Carolina (22-7) (12-4) Projected Seed 4

Last 10 – (10-0)

Good Wins – * (24) Michigan St., * (30) Louisville, * (16) Kentucky, (64) Richmond, (75) Clemson, (73) N.C. State, (76) Maryland, * (43) Pittsburgh, *(8) Duke, (58) Florida State, (73) NC State

Bad Losses – (134) UAB, (108) Miami, (116) Wake Forest

Notes – The Tar Heels are on a roll, and have now won 11 games in a row. I’m not quite sure they have the extra gear to be a Final 4 team, but they’ve become a very solid squad. Marcus Paige is playing at exceptionally high level, and this is a team nobody wants to play right now. Their win over N.C. State was one of the best games of the year in the ACC. They get Notre Dame at home Monday, and then that little matchup with arch rival Duke. Should they win both, I think UNC enters that 2-3 seed territory.

(43) Pittsburgh (22-7) (10-6) Projected Seed 8

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – * (41) Stanford, (73) NC State (76) Maryland, (75) Clemson, (76) Maryland

Bad Losses –  None

Notes – Pittsburgh took care of business this past week by winning at Boston College and Notre Dame. They are in good shape for the Big Dance. This week it’s N.C. State on Monday, and then it’s an important game at Clemson, that could decide who are the 5th and 6th seeds in the ACC Tournament.

Bubble But In


Bubble But Out

(57) Florida State (17-11) (8-8) 

Last 10 – (4-6)

Good Wins – * (13) UMASS, * (15) VCU, (76) Maryland, (75) Clemson, * (43) Pittsburgh

Bad Losses – (108) Miami

Notes – Most projections have Florida State among the last 4 teams out of the NCAAs. As I’ve said all year long, they have the two big out of conference wins over UMASS and VCU that will carry a lot of weight. This past week’s win over Georgia Tech got the Noles to .500 in the conference. Florida State is in a very precarious position, and can play themselves into or out of the tournament this week. There’s a road game at Boston College, and then Florida State gets Syracuse at home Sunday. If the Noles win both games, I really like their chances to get into the Big Dance. They are close, really close.

(75) Clemson (18-10) (9-7) 

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – * (8) Duke, (58) Florida State, (73) NC State, (76) Maryland

Bad Losses – * (164) Auburn, (118) Notre Dame, (116) Wake Forest

Notes – Clemson had a crushing loss at Wake Forest, and that left them with no margin for error if they wanted to earn at large bid to the NCAAs. By gutting out a double OT victory Sunday over Maryland, the Tiger’s still have hope. This week are two must wins at home against Miami and Pittsburgh. If Clemson gets both to finish 11-7 in the ACC you have to give them a serious look.

Only if they win the ACC Tournament

(73) NC State (17-12) (7-9) 

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – *(48) Tennessee, (76) Maryland, (58) Florida State

Bad Losses – (117) NC Central, (116) Wake Forest, (108)

Notes – When the Wolfpack look back on this season, they will see about 30 seconds of basketball that kept them out of the NCAAs. N.C. State lost the lead in the final seconds at Syracuse, and then had a heart breaking loss in the final seconds to UNC. The performance against Miami was just a disaster as N.C. State just looked like a spent team. If the Wolfpack win at Pittsburgh, then beat Boston College this week, would they be back on the bubble? I would say yes, but not in. They’d still need a good run in the ACC Tournament.

(76) Maryland (15-14) (7-9)

Last 10 – (4-6)

Good Wins – (56) Providence, (58) Florida State, (94) Tulsa

Bad Losses – (104) Oregon St.

Notes – Maryland is officially done. This is a team with some individual talent, but they are one sloppy team. They take poor shots and are turnover prone. They had two gut wrenching losses this past week losing in the final seconds against Syracuse and Clemson, as John Swofford smiled on. They get Virginia Tech at home this week, and then it is Virginia at home next Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave Virginia all they want.

(108) Miami (15-14) (6-10)

Last 10 – (5-5)

Good Wins – * (28) Arizona St., * (21) UNC, (84) LaSalle, (58) Florida State, (73) N.C. State

Bad Losses – * (222) Virginia Tech * (185) St. Francis NY, * (207) UCF, * (222) Virginia Tech

Notes – Anyone else think of the Wednesday ACCT teams, Miami has the best chance to make it to Friday? A loss at Virginia wasn’t unexpected, but the win at N.C. State was a very impressive one. Clemson better be ready when Miami visits Tuesday. The Hurricanes finish the ACC regular season with Wake Forest on Saturday.

(116) Wake Forest (15-14) (5-11)

Last 10 – (2-8)

Good Wins – (64) Richmond, * (21) UNC, (73) NC State, (75) Clemson

Bad Losses –  (171) Georgia Tech, (173) Boston College

Notes – Wake Forest played spoiler defeating Clemson at home this past week, but followed that up with a loss to Boston College. Wednesday they host Duke, then after that head to Miami. The clock is running of Jeff Bzdelik.

(118) Notre Dame 15-15 (6-11)

Last 10 – (4-6)

Good Wins – * (8) Duke, (73) Delaware, (75) Clemson, (90) Indiana, (99) Canisius

Bad Losses – * (171) Georgia Tech, (116) Wake Forest, (108) Miami

Notes – It’s been a disappointing first year in the ACC for Notre Dame. They did beat Georgia Tech this past week, but couldn’t hold off Pittsburgh. They’ll finish the regular season at North Carolina Monday. The NIT isn’t even a possibility at this point.

(171) Georgia Tech (13-16) (4-12) 

Last 10 – (3-7)

Good Wins – (71) Illinois, (83) Georgia

Bad Losses – (108) Miami, (118) Notre Dame

Notes – Georgia Tech has now lost 4 games in a row, and it’s likely to be 5 after a visit to Syracuse Tuesday. They get Virginia Tech at home on Saturday. It has been another forgettable season for the once proud  program.

(173) Boston College (8-21) (4-12)

Last 10 – (3-7)

Good Wins – (77) Washington, * (7) Syracuse

Bad Losses – * (164) Auburn, (122) Purdue, (171) Georgia Tech, (118) Notre Dame, (177) USC, (118) Notre Dame, (171) Georgia Tech, (108) Miami

Notes – Boston College came up with a monster upset already once this season when they defeated Syracuse. Ok beating Florida State wouldn’t be as big an upset, but they could really throw a wrench into the Noles NCAA hopes on Tuesday. Boston College heads to NC State to finish the regular season.

(222) Virginia Tech (9-19) (2-14)

Last 10 – (1-9)

Good Wins – (88) West Virginia

Bad Losses – * (184) SC Upstate, (146) Seton Hall,*(288) UNC Greensboro, * (173) Boston College, (118) Notre Dame, * (173) Boston College, (116) Wake Forest

Notes – Virginia is playing better than their record in recent weeks. They’ve played Pittsburgh, Virginia, N.C. State and North Carolina all to single digit losses. They finish the season Tuesday at Maryland then Saturday against Georgia Tech.

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