NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: ACC Tournament Edition
Virginia is a #1 seed. Duke may be. Clemson leads the list of ACC locks. And then there are the bubble teams, who will help make for an interesting 2018 ACC Tournament when we head to Brooklyn in a couple of days.
First, to the locks. Virginia, as a #1 seed, is all but automatic, even if the ‘Hoos lose their first ACC Tournament game.
UVA (28-2, 17-1 ACC) is the #1 seed in the South. Case closed.
Duke (25-6, 13-5 ACC) can play its way onto the 1 seed line with a win or two or more in Brooklyn. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi actually has Duke and North Carolina (22-9, 11-7 ACC) both as 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Carolina has the disadvantage of having to play in Wednesday’s second round as the ACC Tournament’s sixth seed.
Miami (22-8, 11-7 ACC), the third seed in Brooklyn, is projected as a seven in the Big Dance, and Clemson ((22-8, 11-8 ACC), the fourth seed next week, is forecast as a five in the NCAAs.
ACC five seed NC State (21-10, 11-7 ACC) is a nine seed in the NCAA Tournament, per Lunardi. Virginia Tech (21-10, 10-8 ACC), the seven seed in Brooklyn, is an eight seed a week later.
So, there you have it, the seven locks.
Now, to the teams still fighting for their championship lives.
Florida State (20-10, 9-9 ACC), is a 10 seed in the Big Dance, according to Lunardi. That’s razor’s edge close. FSU is 7-9 against Quadrants 1&2, which is decent, not great. The ‘Noles might want to make sure not slip up against Louisville on Wednesday, but then, yeah, Louisville.
The Cardinals (19-12, 9-9 ACC) are among Lunardi’s Last Four In, meaning, uh, huh. Louisville is 4-12 against Quadrants 1&2. Better win play more than 39:59.1 there, fellas.
Which gets us to two most interesting case studies. First, let’s do Syracuse (19-12, 8-10 ACC). The Orange are the 11 seed in Brooklyn, playing the late game on Tuesday.
Win that one, most definitely, or the season is over. A win there, and ‘Cuse gets UNC. Might want to win that one, when you look at Syracuse’s resume – a 38 RPI, which is actually pretty good, better than either Virginia Tech (48) or NC State (52), but a 6-10 record against Quadrants 1&2.
The margin for error, thus, is nil.
Then, Notre Dame (18-13, 8-10 ACC). The Irish are a fascinating case. Supposedly, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee takes into consideration things like, you played half your season without your best player, and he’s now back. Bonzie Colson, the preseason ACC Player of the Year, missed 15 games with a broken left foot, but he came back this week, and dropped 24 and 15 on #1 UVA on Saturday.
He’s back. Notre Dame is whole again, and with Colson in the lineup, Dame is 12-4.
Overall, the Irish went 6-10 against Quadrants 1&2, and have a 65 RPI.
Need to beat Pitt on Tuesday, might need to win against Virginia Tech on Wednesday. I’ll go on the record saying, beat Virginia Tech on Wednesday, to get to 20, 10 wins in the ACC, 14 wins with Colson in the lineup, and the Irish are in.
That said, there is lots of room for intrigue heading into Tuesday at noon.
And I get to be there, courtside. Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
Story by Chris Graham