Gut Check – Previewing the ACCT

I am no great shakes as a statistical analyst – I leave that to the esteemed VaWolf. On the cusp of tourney play, I wanted to throw out my gut calls for discussion.

1) North Carolina

Realistic Chance to Win? Absolutely. At this point, they have to be the odds-on favorite. They are clearly the most talented team, and their depth will help them survive the rigors of tournament play.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Virginia Tech. The Hokies swept the Heels, and seem to match up very well. Nobody was happier to see VT win the tiebreaker for the 3rd seed than UNC, meaning 2 other teams will have the chance to knock off VT before a hypothetical matchup in the finals. Georgia Tech also has the athleticism to run with UNC, but also would not be in UNC’s path until the final.

2) Virginia

Realistic Chance to Win? Maybe. They have excellent guard play, but their scoring options don’t run very deep. I could easily see the Cavs losing in the quarters, or getting to the finals (approximately equal likelihood).

Toughest Obstacle(s): Deep, athletic teams (particularly UNC, Maryland). Foul trouble could also snuff their hopes quickly. One also has to wonder whether there will be a hangover effect from gakking up the outright regular season crown at lowly Wake Forest.

3) Virginia Tech

Realistic Chance to Win? Yes. Like UVA, I could easily see the Hokies losing in the quarters, especially if Georgia Tech plays their best. Also like UVA, their starting backcourt is very strong, and they are extremely well-coached.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Any opponent with strong, aggressive perimeter defense. Georgia Tech and Maryland come to mind. Also have to worry about a hangover effect after 2 big losses in the last week of ACC play, including an inexplicable home loss to reeling Clemson.

4) Boston College

Realistic Chance to Win? Very slim. The Eagles have 2 great players in Jared Dudley and Tyrese Rice. Nobody else on their squad scares you, and their depth is very shallow for a grind like the ACC tournament. They benefit gratly from the first round bye.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Having to face the hottest team in the conference on Friday (Maryland), then the best (and deepest) team in the conference on Saturday (UNC). BC matches up especially poorly with UNC.

5) Maryland

Realistic Chance to Win? Absolutely. Maryland is the hottest team in the conference, and maybe the country. Despite losing at home to the Canes early in the season (when they were playing poorly), they shouldn’t have to break a sweat to win on Thursday. A Gary Williams-coached team with momentum is extremely dangerous in a tournament situation. Fear the turtle, indeed.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Overconfidence and half-court offense. Maryland is a deep, athletic team, but lacks a true “go to guy” in the half-court setting. A team that can match/surpass their size and athleticism (UNC, anyone?) could neutralize their strengths and force them to shoot very well to win. I’m not sure they can do that. The Terp players could also fall victim to believing their glowing press. Without their blue-collar work ethic, they are just an average team (as the first half of ACC play showed).

6) Georgia Tech

Realistic Chance to Win? Absolutely. Think of them as Maryland, with a more favorable draw. Georgia Tech is playing great basketball right now, and boasts the 2nd best PG in the league.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Their own inconsistency and coaching. Even during their fine second-half streak, they completely melted down late against UVA, and fell behind 17-2 to NC State at home. If they are not on, or Crittenden tires and/or gets into foul trouble, GT could get bounced at any time. Paul Hewitt also does not have a great ACCT track record (IIRC).

7) Duke

Realistic Chance to Win? No. The Blue Devils are too shallow and unathletic. Henderson-gate has been a stupid distraction, and Coach K handled it very poorly. They could conceivably make the semifinals, but I don’t see them getting farther than that.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Any team with athleticism and depth. Their path is littered with such foes, although they do match up decently with UVA. Additionally, they do not create any match-up difficulties against anybody, including opening round opponent NC State (which I peg as a 50/50 game).

8) Clemson

Realistic Chance to Win? No. Despite their mini-renaissance from the last week, I don’t see this team running off 4 in a row. Their defense has slipped, and their offense has always been suspect. Plus, their Friday opponent would be a rested and pissed-off UNC.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Lack of consistent offense, tough draw. They are probably favored to beat FSU, but it would take a near miracle to upset UNC and Maryland back-to-back. This team started out 17-0, but mostly on a cupcake-laden diet.

9) Florida State

Realistic Chance to Win? No. However, no team (even UNC) wants to face Al Thornton. His presence makes them a dangerous foe. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if they upset UNC.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Lack of scoring depth, tough draw. See Clemson above. Also, if you at least contain Thornton, the Noles will have trouble finding enough offense elsewhere. Hell, even if you don’t contain him, it’s a problem. Despite Thornton’s 45-point explosion, they needed overtime to beat lowly Miami in the regular season finale.

10) NC State

Realistic Chance to Win? No. Making the semifinals would be a great accomplishment, and certainly put the Pack on the right side of the NIT bubble.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Inconsistency and depth. NC State has a very solid starting five, but by Saturday, fatigue will set in. We also ave no idea which NC State team will show up – the roadkill version from the FSU and Miami debacles, or the great bunch that went a combined 3-1 against VT and UNC. My gut says that the Pack upsets UVA if it can get past Duke.

11) Wake Forest

Realistic Chance to Win? No chance in hell. Knocking off Georgia Tech (like they did NC State last year) would be their ceiling. A potential spoiler, and nothing more.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Offense, defense, and coaching. Pretty much everything comes into question here. After Visser, no Deacon was even seriously considered for any all-ACC honors. Skip Prosser has firmly established himself as a mediocre at best tournament coach.

12) Miami

Realistic Chance to Win? No chance in hell. The Hurricanes will take the short trip home late Thursday night.

Toughest Obstacle(s): Lack of talent, health, tough draw. Frank Haith lost pretty much his entire frontcourt, and is forced to play walk-ons. They also square off against the hottest team in the ACC right off the bat.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

06-07 Basketball Alums General NCS Basketball

26 Responses to Gut Check – Previewing the ACCT

  1. LRM 03/08/2007 at 11:28 AM #

    It’s interesting that the two hottest teams in the ACC (as well as the nation) — Md and GT — are in opposite brackets. However, I’d be reluctant to put either one in an “absolutely” category for the simple fact they’d both have to win four games to win it — no matter how well you’re playing, that’s tough.

    That’s why I think Carolina has the inroads to the championship in this one, unfortunately.

    Regardless, should be an exciting weekend!

  2. redfred2 03/08/2007 at 11:44 AM #

    Not considering how the brackets lay out, but based on gut feeling I’d almost be willing to move UM up to number two or three. I think they will beat BC and are playing better than VT right now. To me, UVA is the real ??? in this tournament. UNC is the favorite, but not odds on by any means. It’s setting up to be an exciting ACC tourney. Who knows?

  3. tractor57 03/08/2007 at 11:46 AM #

    There are only two things I’m sure of in this tourney. Wake and Clemson have NO chance and I will be surprised if either wins today. State probably not – 4 games in 4 days is a TALL order for this team. And “beware the turtle”

  4. CarnifeX 03/08/2007 at 12:11 PM #

    The UNC/UMD matchup is probably the most intriguing one of the whole tourney.

  5. WolfPup35 03/08/2007 at 12:46 PM #

    UNX ALREADY FEARS THE TURTLE! I want a framed 8×10 of Hopsbrough in his pretty new mask, LMAO!

  6. redfred2 03/08/2007 at 1:24 PM #

    I just got a chill up my spine and a weird tingle out of no where.

    We’ve seen this team play on both ends of the spectrum, so they know how to play the game correctly when the “spirit” moves them to do so. If I was Lowe I would have been showing old game film, ramming the tradition, and NC STATE down their throats every day during practices this week. They need to be playing with that “bigger than any one of us,” SPIRIT as much as anything right now.

    I’m not expecting anything, but this team can play the game when they have their heads screwed on straight.

  7. Dan 03/08/2007 at 2:26 PM #

    I get the refs thought they’d just go ahead and help Clemson give the game away. What a BS foul call. Poor Tiger fans. I know how they feel.

  8. Texpack 03/08/2007 at 2:33 PM #

    The FSU win is a bad result for the league. Clemson was a lock with a win. (See Clearing the Bubble) Unless FSU gets major injury points from the committee, they may still need to beat UNC-CH to get in. Don’t count the Tigers out just yet. See where their RPI ends up. If the foul call was as bad as everyone says, they might get some love for that as well.

  9. BJD95 03/08/2007 at 2:35 PM #

    Oliver Purnell shows why “nice guys finish last” in the ACC. His team got screwed by the refs all year long, topped off by this travesty. Not only do they call a fall on Clemson for Thornton FALLING DOWN, they also somehow call it a SHOOTING foul (and he missed the first one).

    Maybe somebody should have screamed like a madman after the shenanigans in Cameron…

  10. the_phisherman 03/08/2007 at 2:39 PM #

    Not to mention not calling a foul on FSU on the possesion prior to FSU tying the game.

  11. Trout 03/08/2007 at 3:38 PM #

    ^ Clemson got screwed on the call, no doubt, but going the last 4 minutes of the game w/o a point, and committing stupid turnover while holding for the last shot are also to blame.

    Clemson and FSU now both have 20 wins. In the history of the ACC since NCAA expansion, no team with 20 or more wins has been left out of the NCAAT. Get ready for that “standard” to fall by the wayside, just like a “winning conference record” did a few years ago.

    Miami came to play, leading MD at halftime. I’d love to hear Gary’s halftime speech. Maryland must be tired from the long flight from Alaska to Tampa

  12. tvp 03/08/2007 at 3:42 PM #

    According to Real Time RPI, FSU is now at 38, Clemson at 46.

    FSU is in, Clemson is out.

  13. Trout 03/08/2007 at 3:42 PM #

    ^ So they basically traded places, RPI wise.

  14. BJD95 03/08/2007 at 3:46 PM #

    Wow, does my Miami prediction ever look bad right now. Note to self – there are never any gimmes in the ACC.

    To me, no metric is more meaningless than overall wins. I would love to see that “standard” fall by the wayside.

  15. redfred2 03/08/2007 at 3:47 PM #

    Umm Prunell, hasn’t something like this happened before? Wise up man!

  16. Trout 03/08/2007 at 3:50 PM #

    ^^ Its still early BJD. I expect Gary to give his team an earful, and for MD to make a comeback, winning by 5-8 at the end.

  17. redfred2 03/08/2007 at 4:57 PM #

    If anybody was thinking differently, I just had the letters backwards up there earlier. I really meant UM.

  18. Trout 03/08/2007 at 4:57 PM #

    Miami beats Maryland, 67-62.

    So far the higher seends have beaten the lower seeds. Hope that holds true in the evening session as well.

  19. Dan 03/08/2007 at 4:59 PM #

    Dont sweat Maryland-Miami – BJD. That happens to all of us.

    The way BC has played of late, is it possible that last place Miami makes it to Saturday?

  20. BJD95 03/08/2007 at 5:04 PM #

    ^ and if so, will the gang bangers show up for the showdown with UNC?

  21. VaWolf82 03/08/2007 at 5:12 PM #

    Don’t count the Tigers out just yet.

    Too late. I wrote them off weeks ago.

    To me, no metric is more meaningless than overall wins. I would love to see that “standard” fall by the wayside.

    AFAIK, it isn’t a metric. It appears to me that some here have confused cause and effect. The “cause” for getting into the NCAAT is wins against good teams through the year. NORMALLY, ACC teams with 20 wins have a number of good wins and are playing pretty well at the end of the year.

    Both Clemson and FSU have struggled at the end of the year….which is the wrong time of the year to be struggling.

  22. VaWolf82 03/08/2007 at 5:15 PM #

    Someone (BJD?) on an earlier thread pointed out that leaving FSU out of the NCAAT last year was considered one of the more controversial decisions last year and that FSU might get a “make-up” call this year.

    NORMALLY, ACC teams with 20 wins have a number of good wins and are playing pretty well at the end of the year.

    And NORMALLY they have winning conference records. The NCAAT selection committee has shown that they do not like teams with losing conference records.

  23. Trout 03/08/2007 at 5:19 PM #

    ^ Then again, FSU made it in one year with a 6-10 ACC record.

    Do you happen to know the best RPI for an ACC team to NOT make the NCAAT?

  24. BJD95 03/08/2007 at 8:37 PM #

    ^^ Wasn’t me.


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