The top teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack. The ACC has four teams that are looking like locks for the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, four teams are battling for a spot in the bubble. The last four, well…there is always next year.
No. 1 DUKE
The Blue Devils are in the mist of a five-game stretch that sees them go on the road four times in those five games. So far, so good, as they’re 2-0. Granted, NC State and Wake Forest won’t be the toughest competition they’ll face this year. Every game it seems like one of the role players steps up to be a solid third option. Against Wake it was Ryan Kelly, who scored 20 and hasn’t missed a shot in over 90 minutes of basketball.
No. 2 FLORIDA STATE
Finally, a second ACC team joins Duke in the top-25. The Seminoles showed no let down after their win over Duke, now winning four straight. The most impressive win may have been their win at Miami. The good news for Florida State is, they don’t have to return the favorite in Durham and they also avoid Virginia Tech for a second time.
No. 3 NORTH CAROLINA
I was checking out the Net the other day and came across an interesting 2011 NBA mock draft. It was interesting because it had zero Tar Heels players in the draft. Really, not even Harrison Barnes? I know he hasn’t lived up to the hype, but someone really thinks he’ll come back to school for his sophomore year? Obviously this would be great news for Carolina fans. This team with another year of experience under their belt, combined with a solid incoming class, would be dangerous.
Having said that, since most mock drafts have both Harrison Barnes and John Henson as lottery picks, I would suspect at least one, if not both, turn pro. Ironically though, Ty Zeller has been the best player for North Carolina, but no one is mentioning his name with the NBA draft.
No. 4 VIRGINIA TECH
The Hokies suffered a tough loss Tuesday night to Georgia Tech, but it seems traveling to Atlanta isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Just ask North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets just seem to get amped up for home games.
With 10 games to go, Virginia Tech will need at least seven wins to get inside NCAA Tournament bubble. Seven more wins would guarantee a 20-win regular season. Of course with five road games left on the schedule, they’re going to need more performances like they had in Maryland and less like they did on Tuesday. The beauty of their remaining schedule is, no more Florida State, no more North Carolina and one game against Duke at home in March. If they can win seven and beat Duke at home, the Hokies will be a lock for the tournament.
No. 5 GEORGIA TECH
Right now, I got four ACC teams into the NCAA Tournament. The reality is, five will probably get in. I’d be shocked if six sneak in. Sadly though, the Yellow Jackets probably can’t do enough to be that fifth team, even if they finish better than Maryland, BC and Clemson in the ACC.
The fact is, there are too many bad, bad, bad loses on Tech’s schedule. To overcome loses to Kennesaw State, Siena and Charlotte, Georgia Tech would need to either win the ACC tournament or finish 8-3 in the ACC. That would put them 18-12 on the season (11-5 in the ACC). That might be good enough to do it. That would mean they would need to go undefeated at home and 2-3 on the road.
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