Augusta Free Press

Brooklyn-bound: ACC teams aspiring to NCAAs have work to do

Virginia and Duke are NCAA locks trying to build resumes for #1 national seeds. After those two, you have 10 ACC teams with work to do to earn Big Dance invites.

At least I see 10. In no particular order:

OK, so I put them in a particular order, using RPI as the lead metric, as much as I hate RPI as a metric.

The issues that we have to sort through right now:

Notre Dame seems to be a lock to open the 2018 ACC Tournament in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in Tuesday’s first round alongside Georgia Tech (10-11, 3-5 ACC), Wake Forest (8-13, 1-8 ACC) and Pitt (8-14, 0-9 ACC). We can start there.

Louisville seems to have the best inside track to one of the two remaining double-byes all the way to Thursday.

That leaves us with eight teams fighting to open either on Wednesday or Thursday in Brooklyn.

Two of those eight will join Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Wake and Pitt in Tuesday games, which would likely be devastating to the NCAA chances of those programs.

If you’re the 10 or 11 seed in Brooklyn, you’re obviously going to need a win on Tuesday, and almost certainly another win on Wednesday, to get to the quarterfinal round on Thursday.

And then you might want to get a win over one of the double-byes, just to be sure.

So, that’s one win on Tuesday, a win on Wednesday against a team that is playing its first game of the tournament, then a win on Thursday, on your third day, against another team playing its first game of the tournament.

A tall order, yes, no question.

Even teams who get byes to Wednesday are going to want to win their opening games, of course, and then would want to get a win on Thursday to sort of lock things down, or come as close as possible.

A win for anybody playing on Tuesday or Wednesday in a Thursday game would feel like a golden ticket.

Should make for a fun week in Brooklyn, but in the here and now, we have a fun next few weeks to look forward to as well.

As of this writing, we have eight teams within a game and a half of each other between fifth and 12th place in the conference standings, and a half-season of opportunities for there to be movement up, down, sideways and the rest.

Strap yourself in. Should be a wild ride.

Story by Chris Graham

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