NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch, Pt. II: The ACC

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NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch, Pt. II: The ACC

The ACC regular season is now complete and only three teams have locked up NCAA bids (North Carolina, Duke, Clemson).  The Miami Hurricanes will most likely be the last ACC team that gets into the NCAA tournament.  Virginia Tech has a strong conferenc record, but a weak RPI ranking.  Right now, they would be one of the last teams left out of the tournament.

Teams, such as Maryland and Virginia Tech, will need to play themselves in the NCAA Tournament during the ACC Tournament, which begins later this week.

I) In the NCAA Tournament

Clemson 22-8 overall, 10-6 ACC  #23 RPI

The good: The 2007 NIT runners-up, barring a complete disaster, will make the tournament. They defeated Purdue 61-58 and they went to overtime twice vs. North Carolina this year (88-90 OT loss and 93-103 2OT). Non-conference wins over Mississippi State, DePaul, South Carolina and Alabama. 
The bad: 72-82 loss vs. Charlotte, 55-64 loss to Florida State, 72-75 loss to Miami.
Outlook: Clemson still has four conference games remaining: Miami and Virginia Tech at home and road match-ups with Georgia Tech and Maryland.  Even if they go 2-2 in conference, Clemson will most likely receive and at-large bid based on the strength of their RPI ranking.  They are a tough team that took the Tar Heels to the brink of defeat twice this year. 
Update: Clemson defeated Miami 79-69 on Feb. 28th. Clemson now approves to 20-7, 8-5 in the ACC.  Clemson came back against Maryland, down 12 at the half, to win 73-70 on March 2nd.  Clemson took a step back losing to Georgia Tech 75-80.  

II) On the outside looking in

Miami 21-9 overall, 8-8 ACC  #26 RPI

The good: Miami is on a four-game win streak (Maryland, Duke, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech). Their remaining schedule is favorable.  They have some nice wins this year: Duke (96-95), Clemson (75-72), Providence (64-58), St. Johns (67-48), Mississippi State (64-58).
The bad:  Miami won the non-conference games they were supposed to win this year with maybe the exception of a 70-76 loss to Winthrop.  Early in ACC play they struggled losing to Boston College, Florida State and North Carolina State. 
Outlook: Miami looks poised to return to the NCAA Tournament.  Their remaining schedule is favorable: at Clemson, Boston College, Virginia, at Florida State. Winning 4-straight games strengthens their case, as well as their RPI ranking. 
Update: Clemson snapped Miami's 4-game win streak by defeating the Hurricanes 79-69.  With the loss, Miami falls into the 'On the outside looking in' category. 

On March 1st the Hurricanes defeated Virginia 95-93.  On March 6th the Miami Hurricanes defeated the Boston College Eagles 74-61. 

Virginia Tech 18-12 overall, 9-7 ACC #57 RPI

The good: Overall conference record, but they do not have a noteworthy win. Their biggest non-conference win was against St. John’s. They lost to Butler 78-84 in OT and Gonzaga 64-82 in the Great Alaska Shootout. They defeated Maryland 67-66, 69-65 at Maryland. The Hokies have won three straight. 
The bad: 61-66 loss at Penn State, 49-52 loss at Richmond, 69-72 loss at Old Dominion
Outlook: Virginia Tech needs to win one of their final games vs. Wake Forest or Clemson. They are in a precarious position, like Syracuse was last year, a strong conference record, but a relatively weak non-conference record. A win against Clemson would bolster their RPI. If the Hokies were able to get it done in the non-conference by beating Penn State, Richmond and Old Dominion they would be a lock. Update: Virginia Tech defeated Wake Forest 80 to 58 on March 4th.

Maryland 18-13 overall, 8-8 ACC #64 RPI

The good:  69-61 win over Illinois, 76-72 win over Charlotte (a team other ACC foes could not beat), 82-80 win over North Carolina.
The bad: Maryland struggled earlier this year losing to Ohio University (55-61) and American University (59-67). They also lost to Missouri (70-84) and needed overtime to beat Northeastern (a 74-72 Terps win). 
Outlook: The 2002 National Champions are in grave danger of missing the NCAA Tournament as they have lost 2 straight to other ACC bubble teams (Miami and Virginia Tech). They have the weakest RPI ranking (66th) of all ACC bubble teams. Two of their final three games are on the road (at Wake Forest, at Virginia,  Clemson). Like other teams from the ACC in position for an at-large berth, Maryland’s fate will most likely be determined by their showing in the ACC Tournament. 
Update: Maryland defeated fellow bubble team, Wake Forest, 74-70 on Feb. 28th. Best case scenarioMaryland ends the year with 20 wins and an at-large berth (10 seed). Maryland let one slip away against Clemson, losing 70-73.  

III) Bubble has Burst

Florida State 18-13 overall, 7-9 in ACC #62 RPI 

Florida State freceives consideration this week after fiinishing the season strong winning 4 out of their last 5 games. The Seminoles most likely will be NIT bound.   

Wake Forest 17-12 overall, 7-9 ACC #84 RPI (Last week #62)

The good: They have won three out of their last four games. Included during this stretch was a 86-73 victory over Duke. Other noteworthy wins: 70-68 win over Miami, 79-62 over BYU, 56-47 over Iowa,  74-61 over South Florida.
The bad: 73-112 loss to Boston College,  64-71 loss to Maryland, 50-72 loss to Georgia.    
Outlook: Without the win over Duke we probably would not even talking about Wake Forest being a bubble team. The problem is that they beat Duke and they are 6-6 in conference. Their remaining schedule is: Maryland,  @ Georgia Tech, @ Virginia Tech, North Carolina State. Even with an 8-8 record in the ACC Wake is in trouble. They will need another big victory in the ACC Tournament over Duke or North Carolina. The Demean Deacons are most likely bound for the NIT. 
Update: Wake Forest is in serious trouble after losing to Maryland 70-74 on Feb. 28th.  They followed the lost to the Terps with a 79-87 loss to Georgia Tech.  The Deamon Deacons will probably have to win the ACC Tournament in order to secure a bid on Selection Sunday.  They fell 22 spots in the latest RPI rankings.  Wake Forest is off the Bubble Watch after losing to Virginia Tech 80-58 on March 4th. 

Remember: Only 34 teams receive at-large berths. This is a down year for the ACC. Are they worth of more than 4 or 5 bids?

Terms: RPI: Ratings Percentage Index

For more information on the selection process go to:

http://www.ncaasports.com/basketball/mens/story/9183455

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_Sunday 

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