ACC Bracketology Update: Louisville in free fall?

2019 ncaa tournament bracketologyLouisville, entering the month of February, was 7-1 in the ACC, in a three-way tie for first atop the conference standings, with UVA and Duke.

When the Cardinals next take the floor, on Sunday, which is the third of March, they will be in seventh, having gone just 2-6 in the month of February, to fall to 9-7 in ACC play.

From the perspective of the NCAA Tournament, Louisville seems safe, for now, with an NET rating at a seemingly solid 21.

Joe Lunardi at ESPN has U of L as a six seed in his most recent Bracketology, which seems overly optimistic, considering the recent, lengthy, rough patch.

The loss at Boston College (NET: 127) on Wednesday would seem to be worth at least one spot on the seed line.

With a road game at UVA finishing out the regular season next weekend, it would seem incumbent for Louisville to avoid any possible hiccups in its next one, Sunday, at home against Notre Dame (NET: 103).

NC State: Work to do

NC State launched into February with a last-second win over Clemson (NET: 43) and a one-point OT loss to Virginia (NET: 2).

At that stage, the Wolfpack was 16-5, 4-4 in the ACC.

Then came the most unusual set of back-to-back losses you will see this season: a 47-24 L to Virginia Tech (NET: 11) on Feb. 2, followed by a 113-96 loss to UNC (NET: 8) on Feb. 5.

State has rebounded to win four of its last five, and sits at 30 in the NET, with a 20-8 record, and an 8-7 mark in the ACC.

But, the Pack is just 1-7 in Quadrant 1 games.

A chance at a second Q1 win comes Saturday at Florida State (NET: 26). Absent that, State finishes with winnable games next week, at home against Georgia Tech and on the road at Boston College.

Both of those are must-wins.

Clemson, Syracuse: In the same breath?

You probably don’t think of them this way, but NET does. NET actually has Clemson (17-11, 7-8 ACC) 43rd, and Syracuse (18-10, 9-6 ACC) 44th.

This with ‘Cuse owning three Q1 wins, including the biggest road win of the season, Jan. 14 at Duke (NET: 3).

But, the Orange also lost at home to ODU (NET: 75), Oregon (NET: 76), UConn (NET: 97), and Georgia Tech (NET: 128).

Clemson is just 1-8 vs. Q1 and 4-11 vs Q1 and Q2. The bad loss is at Miami (NET: 89), the good win at home against Virginia Tech, which at the time didn’t look as good, because the Hokies were without Justin Robinson, but the same Robinson-less Hokies just beat Duke, so …

Clemson has two huge games sandwiched around a mid-week next week game with Notre Dame: UNC this Saturday, Syracuse next Saturday.

Syracuse gets Wake Forest (NET: 189) this Saturday, then hosts Virginia on Big Monday, finishing with Clemson.

That one, next weekend, could have the feel of an NCAA Tourney play-in game.

Column by Chris Graham

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
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