Well we’ve reached the end of the regular season and this will be our last bubble/conference update of the year. Doing these weekly updates has skewed my normal outlook on the season. Other than State wins, I found myself pulling for whatever outcome would lead to an interesting conversation. Obviously, I shouldn’t have wasted the energy because we’ve ended up with one of the most boring bubble situations that we’ve ever discussed.
UVA pulled together a great regular season based on the easiest conference schedule in the ACC. They played the minimum number of games against the other teams with a bye until Friday AND played two of those three games at home. (I’ll try to get more out on the effect of the unbalanced schedule before the ACCT kicks off.) Of the top 4, UVA looks to me like the only team with a chance of getting a one-seed if they win the ACCT.
Syracuse looked pretty good on Sunday, especially considering they lost two horrible games at home over the last couple of weeks. Duke stumbled against WF (trap game on the road) and then extracted revenge against UNC. Both teams are playing for something between a two and a four-seed.
UNC managed to climb all of the way out of the hole that they dug and then fell into. They’re playing for something between a three and a six-seed. Overall, the top of the ACC is quite respectable, but it gets ugly really quick:
Pitt is in the exact same position that they were in on Jan 1…they haven’t beaten anyone worth discussing. Based on the Dance Card, the win (ie gift) in Clemson moved them one spot further from the NIT than they were on Friday afternoon. One of the things that I like about the Dance Card is that math doesn’t have a memory…the results are what they are. While there might be room to question whether or not Pitt deserves a bid, the Dance Card’s results show where Pitt stands in regards to past tournament selections.
Another thing that I like about the Dance Card is that evaluating Pitt is more like looking at a third-place mid-major than the normal ACC team on the bubble. Their one Top 50 win against a bubble team and 5th place in an overall weak conference is certainly not a good resume. The best thing that I can find on their resume is that their worst loss was to #66 State. So the Dance Card provides a better estimate of their position than any of the examples we’ve used from the past (which are mostly the Herb bubble teams).
FSU has two top-25 OOC wins and pretty much nothing else. The loss to SYR moved them to about five spots below the Dance Card bubble line. While Pitt needs just enough to stay ahead of the other bubble teams, FSU needs ACCT wins to climb over several to make the NCAAT. The question is whether or not a win on Friday would be enough.
UMD’s win against UVA matches Clemson’s lone quality win…which gives both teams one quality win more than State (who beat three bubble teams). So how many wins do these three need? Before we get to that, let’s look at this table and see if it contains any useful information:
Several things that stood out to me:
– There were slightly more upsets in the second half of the season.
– It will be interesting to see if Duke’s and SYR’s bad losses impact their seeding.
– Five of the six teams playing on Wed in the ACCT have a win against the top four in the ACC. From my seat, that says more about the top of the ACC than it does the bottom.
– Miami and WF’s upsets will lead to speculation about the Thursday games. However, their records show that both are vulnerable to being upset on Wednesday.
The main conclusion that I draw from the upset table, is that the middle of the ACC is extremely weak. To me, this places the odds of any of the 5-9 seeds playing on Sunday in fractions of a percent.
If one (or more) surprising upsets were to occur, then it will be interesting to discuss what it means. However the odds of anything interesting happening are so small that I just can’t find the energy to seriously discuss it. For today, I’ll leave the discussion of those chances to any of our resident Jim Carrey’s.