Wednesday, February 27, 2013
What are the outlooks for the various ACC teams for the NCAA tournament?
Duke is 24-3 overall, 11-3 in the ACC. They are 8-2 against the current RPI top 50, with 5 of the wins on neutral sites. The only knocks are 1. their best true road win is at Florida State with a road record of 4-3. They have two more shots to get pretty good road wins tomorrow at Virginia and in their final game on March 9 at North Carolina. 2. They are 9-3 in their last 12 without Brian Kelly.
Duke also has home games against Miami-Fl and Virginia Tech remaining. Duke hasn't lost this year on either their home floor or at a neutral site. Their 6-0 record at neutral sites is against teams that will likely be in the NCAA tournament. Even if Duke losses their final two road games, they have a little bit of shot at still snagging a #1 seed if they win the ACC Tournament, depending on what happens throughout the country. Duke's proven to play well at home, so I'm going to predict 2-2 to finish the season, but they will rebound with Brian Kelly back for the ACC tournament and will win it, getting a questionable #1 seed.
Miami (FL) is at 22-4, 13-1 in conference. They have several odd losses that make me think they don't serve a #1 seed. Double-digit losses to Florida Gulf Coast and Wake Forest lead the way. Both teams are in the triple digit RPIs. Neutral court losses to Indiana State and Arizona (by 19) are also concerns. They offset these with wins over Michigan State, La Salle, Duke, NC State (road) and a sweep of North Carolina. Saturday's matchup at Duke looms large and will probably be a loss. Georgia Tech an Clemson at home to finish the season should be wins, giving them a regular season outright conference championship. I think they have to beat Duke again either Saturday or in the ACC Tournament to get a #1 seed. I don't think that happens. They end up as a #2 seed.
North Carolina is 18-8 overall, 9-5 in conference. They were swept by Miami, splits with NC State and Virginia and have losses at Indiana, at Duke, a neutral site game with Butler and a pretty ugly one to RPI# 140 Texas 85-67. Their best win is over UNLV. Games remain @Clemson, Florida State, @Maryland and Duke. They will probably finish 3-1 and end up as 5, 6 or 7 seed.
North Carolina State is 19-8 overall, 8-6 in the ACC. The only read bad loss is at Wake Forest. The remaining schedule is pretty favorable- @Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, @Florida State. NCST's problem is that their losses this season are mounting. Their top two wins are conference splits with rivals, Duke and North Carolina. They have a neutral site 4 point win over in-eligible Connecticut. That doesn't quite cancel out a 20 point neutral site loss to Oklahoma State. While NC State is solidly in the tournament, they are out of the running to be a top 4 seed, unless they win the ACC tournament. Even then, it is unlikely they would climb high enough for a preferential site like Philadelphia or Lexington for their first two games. They'll probably end up somewhere around a #6 seed or #7 seed with their remaining schedule and other teams losing.
Virginia, upon further review, is actually in pretty good shape based on their quality wins. They are 19-8 overall, 9-5 in conference. They have good wins @Wisconsin, NC State and a split with North Carolina. Wins over fellow bubble temas Tennessee, Maryland, and Florida State (this is a major stretch) help a little, as they have no losses in the 25-125 RPI areas. At the same time, they have accumulated 6 losses to teams with RPIs of 133 and below. This includes a home loss to Delaware and a neutral site loss to Old Dominion that is at RPI #322 right now. The efficiency ratings like Virginia. They are probably a much better team than their results indicate. They have had the injury and sickness bug bite them pretty badly as well. Remaining games versus Duke, @Boston College, @Florida State, Maryland. My guess would be that Virginia loses to Duke before winning their last three. This has been a hard team to predict, for the most part either winning big or losing close games. They are probably looking at being in the tournament, but avoiding the play-in game right now. They would be a double digit seed if the season ended now.
Maryland is in big trouble now. They are 19-9 overall and 7-8 in the ACC after losing @Georgia Tech tonight. They are 3-7 against the RPI top 100. They only have three top 100 wins: NC State, Duke, and Stony Brook (#91). They were swept by Florida State and lost at home to Virginia. They also have losses at Boston College and at Georgia Tech. Remaining games @Wake Forest, North Carolina and @Virginia. These could all be losses, yet all three are pretty win-able as well. The only game I would "favor" them in would be @Wake Forest, but they just lost by 10 to Georgia Tech would is only slightly better. The Terps look like they are heading toward the NIT or worse.
I was going to discuss Florida State, but they now need to win the ACC tournament to make the tournament. They have 0-7 against the RPI top 50. No one else in the ACC gets any more consideration than that.
At this point, I think it's safe to put Duke, Miami (FL), North Carolina, and NC State in the tournament. Virginia needs to take advantage of their game against Duke tomorrow to solidify their bid. Looking at bubble teams right now based on the Bracket Matrix: Colorado, Cincinnati, Creighton, California, Iowa State, Saint Mary's, La Salle, Middle Tennessee (as at-large), Kentucky, Temple, Villanova, Mississippi, Virginia are in. Belmont, Akron and Louisiana Tech are in with Middle Tennessee as automatic bids, but may have a shot as an at-large if they lose in their conference tournament. Baylor, Maryland, Southern Miss, Arizona State, Tennessee, Charlotte, Iowa, Alabama, Indiana State, Massachusetts and St. John's are out. I would slot Virginia in the middle of the pack of teams that are in.
I'll get another bracket posted tomorrow. Losses by Indiana and Florida last night and Michigan tonight are shaking up the top of the bracket. That has a ripple effect moving downward.
Bubble teams losing tonight: Indiana State, Northern Iowa, Charlotte, Maryland, Arkansas, Wichita State and Oklahoma For the first five, this could be nearly a fatal blow for their chances. The entire Missouri Valley reputation is hurting as they beat themselves up. The final game of Wichita State versus Creighton will be for the outright conference title. The MVC tournament in St. Louis should be very competitive and very easily could produce a bid-stealer. Oklahoma gets their first bad loss of the year to Texas.