Several ACC Teams Sitting On The NCAA Tournament Bubble

    With the NCAA Tournament coming into view, several ACC teams are on the bubble. Blue bloods such as North Carolina and Duke will be in the NCAA Tournament, but what about the hopes of other ACC contenders?

    February 13, 2017

    With the NCAA Tournament coming into view, several ACC teams are on the bubble. Blue bloods such as North Carolina and Duke will be in the NCAA Tournament, but what about the hopes of other ACC contenders?


    When it comes to locks for the NCAA Tournament, the ACC has plenty of them. And that’s no surprise considering that this league may be college basketball’s best since the 2011 Big East, which was able to send 11 teams to The Dance.

    Six teams—Duke, Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Virginia—are going to be in the field of 68. But what about some of the league’s other competitive squads?

    Let’s take a look at how the ACC’s bubble teams fared over the weekend and how their chances stack up for postseason play as we get closer to the unveiling of the field of 68 for the NCAA Tournament.

    ACC Teams On NCAA Tournament Bubble

    Virginia Tech

    Buzz Williams and the Hokies claimed a huge 80-78 double-overtime home win over rival Virginia on Sunday evening, moving to 17-7 overall and 6-6 in league play. Seth Allen hit a jumper in the lane with 3.2 seconds left to give VT just its second win in the rivalry in the last 11 meetings. VT has victories over Michigan, Ole Miss, Duke, Syracuse and Virginia, and it’s a team that can cause matchup problems in the NCAA Tournament because of its guard play. The Hokies sit at No. 37 in the RPI, which helps offset their non-conference strength of schedule number of 312.

    Miami

    The Hurricanes had Louisville on the ropes on Saturday, but Jim Larrañaga’s bunch could not seal the deal, blowing a 14-point first-half lead and dropping a 71-66 decision. The Hurricanes do not have a real quality win away from the Watsco Center, so that could possibly hold them back. That’s why the road win over the Cardinals would have been so huge. However, the 16-8 ‘Canes are No. 34 on kenpom.com with a No. 49 rank in the RPI. Staying at .500 in the league will get them in.

    Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has his team in the NCAA Tournament discussion. (Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

    Syracuse

    The Orange suffered a tough setback to Pitt on Saturday, dropping an 80-75 decision to the Panthers. Jim Boeheim’s team, which is 16-10 overall and 8-5 in the ACC, has really struggled on the road in league play, although it had won two in a row in the conference outside of the Carrier Dome before this setback. A huge game looms on Monday night against Louisville, which is one of two meetings between the teams. The Orange also have a date remaining against Duke. Boeheim has done a real nice coaching job following the rough non-conference season, but a lot of work remains to be done. Still, getting to 10 wins in the ACC—with victories over FSU and Virginia—will look very good on a tournament résumé despite losses to UConn, St. John’s and Boston College.

    Georgia Tech

    Josh Pastner’s Yellow Jackets absolutely needed to win their game against Boston College on Saturday, and they were able to do so despite shooting 5-of-30 and falling behind by 15 points in the first half. Tadric Jackson had 20 of his 29 points in the second half, as the versatile guard put the team on his back in the 65-54 victory.

    GT is 15-10 and 6-6 in the ACC, but the Jackets have wins over North Carolina, Florida State and Notre Dame. The schedule is manageable the rest of the way, so Tech remains in business. Being at least five games over .500 with impressive wins is imperative. The metrics do not love the Yellow Jackets, though, as they are 79th on kenpom.com and 76th in the RPI. But 9-9 in the league could do the trick—though 10-8 would make Pastner and Co. more comfortable.

    Wake Forest

    The Demon Deacons had an outstanding performance against NC State on Saturday, crushing the Wolfpack, 88-58. Danny Manning and Co. are short on quality wins, so the Deacons still have a lot of work to do. But taking care of business against Dennis Smith Jr. and Co. was essential, as Wake controlled the game from the get-go. The Demon Deacons are 15-10 overall and 6-7 in the league, and they rank 32nd on kenpom.com and 31st in the RPI. But they are 1-8 against RPI Top 50 squads. They don’t have a “bad” loss, but their best win was against Miami. The Selection Committee may have a very difficult decision to make if Wake can’t beat Duke or Louisville but takes care of business against the teams it should beat.

    NC State

    It’s a shame, but America is not going to get to see Smith Jr.’s exceptional skill set in the NCAA Tournament. The 14-12 Wolfpack were embarrassed in their loss to Wake Forest, which was the fifth straight setback since their thrilling win over Duke. Mark Gottfried is just 30-29 in his last two seasons, so there’s no question that fans in Raleigh should be very disappointed considering the amount of talent on the roster the last two years. Things don’t get any easier for the ‘Pack, as a game this week against UNC looms.

    Clemson

    The Tigers fell to Duke, 64-62, in a game that they desperately needed to win. It was the perfect opportunity for a win, too, as the Blue Devils had a quick turnaround after their emotional home victory over North Carolina last Thursday night. But Brad Brownell’s squad was unable to finish the job, so the Tigers dropped to 13-11 and off of the bubble like NC State.

    MORE: Louisville vs. Syracuse Prediction, Game Preview

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