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  1. #1

    Countdown to Selection Sunday

    Okay, exactly four weeks to go -- three weeks left in the regular season.

    It's finally time to starting thing about how teams are positioning themselves and which teams are (hate to use the cliche) on the bubble.

    I think the ACC breaks down into four four-team groups. As it stands going into tonight's games, UNC, Duke, Clemson and Wake Forest are as solid as its possible to be. All have been in the top 10 quite recently and despite some losses are vying to very high seeds.

    They are also vying to start NCAA play in Greensboro. Due to the pod system, two top teams can play at the same first-round site, even if they are in different brackets. Probably, two of the ACC's top four will play in Greensboro. By NCAA guidelines, the top seeded teams get priority -- that means that atthe moment, UNC would likely get one of the spots ... the other is very much up for grabs.

    But those four are in the field -- they're just playing for seeding.

    The ACC's next four are teams that have positioned themselves to make the field ... or just miss it. As they stand:

    -- Florida State (19-6, 6-4) The 'Noles will drop out of the top 25 after Saturday's beat-down at Wake, but they are still in very good shape. Home games with Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech are non gimmies, but two of three wins would probably do it. One win on the road at Virginia Tech, Boston College and Duke would certainly help.

    But this team has wins over Florida, Cincinnati and Cal ... plus a close loss at Pitt. They're No. 20 in the RPI. Barring a complete collapse, they're in.

    -- Boston College (18-8, 6-5): Still has work to do and the immediate schedule is a killer -- Duke tonight and at Miami. But they finish with FSU at home, at NC State and Georgia Tech at home. That will help. Maybe we should wait and see about tonight's game vs. Duke ... that would go a long way towards putting them in the field. The win at UNC is a big plus -- too bad it was followed by a home loss to Harvard ... without that, they'd be on the verge of being in. No. 55 in the RPI, which is outside the normal range for an at large team.

    -- Miami (15-8, 4-6): At No. 41 in the RPI, the 'Canes are in better shape than their record looks. Still, the record is hovering at point where it becomes a fatal hurdle. A win over UNC tonight would REALLY help.

    A loss to the Heels doesn't hurt that much, but it puts pressure on the 'Canes to finish strong against a tough stretch: at FSU, Boston College at home, at Virginia, at Georgia Tech, N.C. State. Important to take care of business at home and beat the two bad teams (UVa, GTech) on the road.

    I can't help thinking that Jack McClinton's slap against Ohio State (UM was killing the Buckeyes before his ejection) is going to cost them an NCAA bid.

    -- Virginia Tech (15-8, 5-4): The Hokies hurt themselves with their loss at Maryland. Hard-luck team with last-second losses to Xavier, Wisconsin and Georgia (the last one really hurts -- they are a bad team). No. 48 in the RPI -- they were in Jerry Palm's bracket Friday, but as one of the last four in. Got to think the Maryland loss moved them out.

    Still a chance to recover -- tough rivalry game at Virginia and a home game with FSU this week. Then at Clemson, home to Duke and home to UNC coming up. I really believe they'll get to win one of those three to make it.

    Two of the ACC's bottom four are still barely alive for the NCAA, but are much more likely NIT teams. True Maryland (16-8, 5-5, RPI 59) and NC State (14-9, 4-6, RPI 89) are hot, but both are digging out of deep holes.

    Funny, but Maryland has the same three-game stretch as Virginia Tech coming up -- at Clemson, home to UNC and home to Duke. They also get Wake in College Park, so they at least have a chance to win some games to impress the committee.

    NC State's schedule is far less favorable -- they still have to play at UNC, at Wake and at Miami. They don't a top team in Raleigh -- plus they are in a much deeper hole than the Terps.

    As for Georgia Tech and Virginia, they're spoilers ... nothing more.

    Right now, I'd guess seven bids for the ACC. Naturally, there aren't a lot of mid-major candidates, plus the SEC and Pac 10 are really, really weak. The Big Ten is a lot like the ACC in football -- a lot of very good teams, but nothing resembling a national championship contender.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    I can't help thinking that Jack McClinton's slap against Ohio State (UM was killing the Buckeyes before his ejection) is going to cost them an NCAA bid.
    I agree with most of what you said, but I think the OSU loss won't be what keeps Miami out. If they don't make it, the losses to NCSU and Maryland are going to be what they regret. If they're 17-6 and 6-4 in the ACC, they're sitting pretty. With an RPI that would be in the 30s and on their way to 9-10 ACC wins, there'd really be little question. But right now, they're shooting for 7-8 wins unless something surprising happens, and that is what makes the OSU loss relevant.

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