ACC Bubble Watch
We're only 2 weeks away from Selection Sunday and by this time next week, we'll have an official bracket for the ACC Tournament, so it's time to get serious about looking at at-large resumes for teams trying to make the NCAA Tournament. Going into yesterday's games, the ACC had 7 teams that were still hopeful of getting an at-large bid. That number is already down to 6, and only Duke should feel safe about their chances of getting in. Check out these team's resumes and chances of making the tournament below.
Duke was the highest ranked AP team to win yesterday, and did it in impressive fashion on the road at Syracuse. The Blue Devils seem locked in as a 2 seed. The only thing keeping this team from being a 1 seed is the weakness of the ACC overall, and unless the teams in front of them keep losing, they'll stay on the 2 line when the bracket is announced in 2 weeks.
Notre Dame- BUBBLE
Notre Dame has been fantastic in ACC play, and also owns a win over Kentucky. The Irish's metrics aren't great (as is the case for most teams in the ACC), but it also doesn't have bad losses. The worst loss was to Boston College in early December. This team is much better than they were then and should be fairly comfortably into the tournament field as long as they don't lose to Pitt next week. I project them to end up as an 8 or 9 seed, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Notre Dame cuts down the nets in Brooklyn, and doesn't have to worry about bubble drama.
Wake Forest- BUBBLE
While Wake does not have many big wins, they have zero bad losses. They don't have a single Q3 or Q4 loss. Wake is currently sitting on the 9 or 10 line in most projections, and they only have one more regular season game, this Wednesday against NC State. This is a must win game for the Demon Deacons. not only would a loss guarantee them not getting a double-bye in the ACC Tournament, but it would also put them directly on the bubble. As long as they take care of business against NC State, Wake should be a 9 or 10 seed unless they go on a big run in Brooklyn.
North Carolina- BUBBLE
After losing to Pitt last week, UNC found itself as one of the last teams in the projected field, but since then they've won a huge game at Virginia Tech, and won games against Louisville and NC State that they couldn't afford to lose. A quick glance at the metrics would suggest that North Carolina should be ahead of Wake Forest and Notre Dame, but there's 2 things keeping UNC down. They've had 8 quad 1 opportunities and only have 1 win, and the Pitt loss at home is back to a quad 4 loss. If UNC can get past Syracuse tomorrow, it will set up a rematch with Duke on Saturday that can only help, not hurt the Tar Heels. If things go as projected, Carolina should end up being a 10 seed, but a loss to Syracuse or an early exit in Brooklyn could have UNC playing in Dayton in the First Four.
Miami is 7th in the country in TO%, but they had their most untimely one of the season yesterday with 16 seconds left against Virginia Tech that led to a game-winning 3 by Darius Maddox. The computers do not like Miami, and that's mostly due to a weak ACC and the Hurricanes having the 133rd Non-conference strength of schedule, but it's Miami's wins that have them in the current projected field. A 4-1 Quad 1 record is incredibly impressive and is the second most Q1 wins in the conference behind only Duke. Miami has Boston College and Syracuse left on the schedule and a loss in either game will hurt them more than wins will help them. I think Miami will be in the tournament as another 9 or 10 seed for the ACC, but there is always the possibility that the committee puts more emphasis on the NET and omits Miami just based on a NET in the high 50s or low 60s.
Virginia Tech- BUBBLE
The Hokies were barely clinging to the bubble coming into yesterday and in need of a statement win. It didn't look like they were going to get it, though as they found themselves down 6 with under a minute to play before a 10-3 run in that span propelled the Hokies to a huge win and their first quad 1 victory of the year. The computer metrics favor Virginia Tech, and if their strength of schedule was stronger, they would already be in the field of 68. After yesterday's win, the Hokies now find themselves as one of the first four or next four out in most projections. The Hokies are also one of the hottest teams in the country winning 8 of their last 9 and may get rewarded for such. They probably need to beat Louisville and Clemson this week and make it to the Semi-finals of the ACC Tournament before they'll be in the Tournament, but that's definitely not out of the question for this team. Just keep winning, Hokies.
Virginia- OFF THE BUBBLE
Virginia had been making a late-season push for an at-large bid, but could not afford any more losses in the regular season. They have some really nice wins on the season, but are brought down by some very bad losses. It looked as though they were going to escape yesterday and continue to cling to tournament hope when they were up 11 late against Florida State. Well that all changed when the Seminoles rallied all the way back and Matthew Cleveland popped Virginia's bubble with a heave from just inside half-court, likely sending Virginia to the NIT. The Hoos will now have to win the ACC Tournament if they want to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
As for Syracuse, Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Boston College, Pittsburgh, NC State, and Georgia Tech: it's win the ACC Tournament or bust if they want to make the NCAA Tournament.