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Bracket Banter: ACC Review


UVA: 7-3 in Q1/2 right now, and no losses outside of Q1 gave me the confidence to lock them into the bracket. This week brings a Q2 and then a Q1 opportunity. I see UVA’s ceiling being a three-seed. They’re a four right now and have as many Q3/4 games as Q1/2 games, limiting their opportunities. Virginia must avoid the Q3 losses to keep their three seed chances alive if they beat 3 of NC State, Duke, UNC, and Clemson and take no bad losses - 3 seed. Go 2-2 in the Q1/2 games left, or lose a Q3/4 game and drop to the low 4-5 line. Their floor is still variable with the amount of Q3/4 games left, but I think they end up on the 4-5 line.

Should Be In:

Miami (FL): The Hurricanes sit on the 6 line right now. They may move up as I scrub the bracket this evening. They have a Monday game where they host Duke on a quick turnaround for both teams. If Miami can find a way to beat Duke, they should move up to the 5 line.3 Q1, 2 Q2, and 2 Q4 games remain on the Hurricane schedule this year; if they win the 2 Q4 games and find a way to go 3-2 in the remainder, that puts their Q1/2 record at 10-6 which should result in a solid seed. They’re currently 7-4 in Q1-2 but have a blemish from a Q3 game at Georgia Tech in January, which limits this resume. The 4 line is their ceiling, whereas a meltdown could get the Hurricanes in trouble. I think they will end up with a 5-6 seed in March.

Duke: The Blue Devils have won back-to-back Q2 games and have 2 Q1 games this week, starting with Miami and then @ UVA. These two games will go a long way in deciding how much Duke can climb or if they stay around where they are now. I have them as a six-seed coming into today, but if they win out, their ceiling is the 4 line. Avoiding losses in their two Q4 games is going to be vital. Right now, 2-6 in Q1 looks like a red flag, but they have no losses outside of Q1 and are 5-0 in Q2. They have 3 Q1 and 3 Q2 games remaining, so winning records in both will be a big deal for them. I like Duke to stay between a 5-6 seed; I think there’s too much of a gap for them to climb toward the 4 line; however, it’s not impossible. Duke could be locked if they won their next 3 in a row (@ Miami, @ UVA, vs. Notre Dame).

NC State: Three road games are coming up for the Wolfpack at UVA, Boston College, and Syracuse. They need to go 2-1 here, minimum. After that, they have 4 Q1/2 games left to end the year. It would be best to win 2 of those as well. Going 4-3 in their remaining games gets them in, but if they start losing more than 4, it could become a scary Selection Sunday. Currently, an eighth seed, a 6 is likely the ceiling for this team, they’re likely in, and if they finish well, they could avoid the 8/9 game.


UNC: The Tar Heels have been a hot topic on Twitter and bracketology sites this weekend, and rightfully so. UNC’s metrics look like a tournament team, but they have now amassed a Q1 record of 1-7 and then a Q2 record of 5-1. This team stays in the field because of their lack of a bad loss and the Q2 record. Right now, I believe that UNC has to get 2/4 of their Q1 games, split the Q2 games, then win the 2 Q3 games left. The matchup at home vs. Duke could push them in or out of the bracket to end the year. The ceiling for this team is a 7, and that’s if they win out. Realistically, I see them finishing up along the 8/9 game line, maybe falling to the 10 line. This feels like a deja-vu scenario for the Tar Heel faithful, but this year’s a little different but worse for this team.

Pittsburgh: Two wins over UNC is going to be a HUGE stat for this team when the committee looks at these resumes; Right now, that pushed them back into the bracket for me. The last ten days have been good for Pitt, as they picked up 2 Q2 wins and a Q1 win. The problem for the Panthers: 3 Q3 and 3 Q4 games to pair with only 2 Q1 games left. 6-2 gets them in the bracket, and even then, they may need to win a game or two in the ACC tournament. Pitt’s ceiling is the 8/9 game, and the floor is OUT. The 8-6 record in Q1/2 looks excellent, but the Q4 loss does dampen the resume, and their metrics aren’t great. 6-2 puts them at 15-5 in conference play, a record that in almost any other conference would be a lock for the tournament, but the ACC is just having another poor year. I think Pitt gets in but may have to play in Dayton.

Clemson: The only reason Clemson is in my bracket is because they maintain as the AQ for the ACC. Their resume shows they’re 7-3 in Q1/2, but they have 2 Q4 losses and a Q3 loss. Also, I’m not sure that this team can avoid losses in the 3 Q4 games they have remaining. They also have 3 Q1 opportunities paired with a Q3 game. I think the Tigers must win five and maybe six of their remaining seven games to get in. Their metrics don’t help either; each metric listed has them outside the top 46 (# of teams before it’s all AQs), and their strength of schedule is ABYSMAL.

Wake Forest: Wake is another team with metrics outside of the at-large #’s (nothing higher than 56th). The Demon Deacons are 1-6 in Q1, 3-2 in Q2, and 4-1 in Q3. They currently sit as the 13th team out of my bracket and likely are done without winning out. This has been progress for Wake, but just not enough this year. The four-game losing streak in January pushed them well out of the bracket, and I don’t believe they can recover.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are a very interesting team to look at. 5-8 in Q1/2, with a Q3 loss and a losing conference record right now. Tech played a challenging beginning of ACC play and has a little easier path at the end of the year, eight games remain, and over 1/2 are Q3/4. 7-1 in their last 9, give them a shot, 8-0 will likely lead to being in. The metrics are around #46, but their out-of-conference strength of schedule is 238. This may be a team who wins a game or two in the ACC tourna

ment and slides into the bracket. They did play a lot of their seven-game losing streak without their best player, which the committee will look at.

Overall, the ACC finds six bids and maybe a 7th. In my opinion, of the last three in this article (Clemson, Wake, VT), I would give the nod to VT over the others to find a way into the tournament mainly because the committee will likely provide them with some leniency for some of their losses without their best player. The ACC may end up with a team on the 3 line, but at most that, and likely has three teams stacked in the 3-7 seed range. Also, the ACC could be represented in Dayton as part of the first 4. The season's final stretch will be enjoyable, and some intriguing momentum swings and storylines should develop.

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