ACC Roundup

Sunday was the second of six consecutive days with at least one ACC basketball game being played. So the RPI rankings discussed below were valid thru Saturday’s games. After all, does anyone really think that the UNC/VT game is going to change anything meaningful in the discussion?

Before we get to the summary table, I’ve got a preliminary list on the leading contenders for easiest and hardest conference schedules. (Since the ACC teams only play four home/home series during the conference schedule, there is frequently a huge disparity in conference SOS.) So here are the teams on the various watch lists with their home/home opponents:

Easiest Conference Schedule

  • FSU (Miami, Pitt, Clemson, VT)

Hardest Conference Schedule

  • UNC (Duke, L’ville, NCSU, GT)
  • L’ville (UVA, UNC, Miami, Pitt)
  • WF (UVA, Duke, NCSU, FSU)

Easiest Conference Schedule among teams in upper half of the conference

  • ND (Duke, Clemson, GT, BC)
  • Miami (L’ville, BC, FSU, VT)

Where the huge disparity in schedule strength could come into play is the splits between who plays on Tue, Wed, and Thurs in the ACCT. (Everyone caught the news that the ACCT runs from Tue-Sat, right?) This is not anything that we need to beat to death today, but just something to keep in mind as the season unfolds. So let’s move onto to the summary table:


ND and Pitt stretch my definitions a bit, but I’m feeling generous after the miracle comeback by Seattle. With only four teams ranked 100+, this is the best that the ACC has looked this year. (As long as you don’t notice that GT is in the Top-100 AND 0-5 in conference.) Eventually, we’ll need to dissect the key wins on each NCAAT or bubble team, but I’m content to just watch the games and standings for now. There are plenty of potential wins available for any ACC team. It’s just a matter of whether or not they are really good enough.

Clemson’s paw print showed up at the bottom of the bubble graph when I updated the info on Thursday. A lot of RPI haters would use their path closer to the bubble as a launching point for another diatribe. So exactly how did Clemson move from a ranking of #147 on the Jan 1 entry to #85 in just four games?

  • Jan 3 Lost at home to UNC
  • Jan 7 Lost on road to L’ville
  • Jan 10 Won on road at Pitt
  • Jan 13 Lost on road at UVa

So losing to three really good teams and beating one almost-bubble team is worth a 60 point jump in RPI Ranking? The obvious answer is yes, but it is not worth getting too worked up over for several reasons:

  • The RPI rankings can swing widely from one game to the next early in the season
  • As you drop down in the RPI rankings, the swings are going to be much larger than is seen in the regions we normally examine.
  • Clemson’s huge jump in SOS will eventually be balanced out when they play the teams in the lower half of the ACC.

How much did Clemson’s SOS improve? From an OOC SOS ranking of 153 (which is abnormally high compared to past Clemson teams) to an overall ranking of 36 after playing Syracuse is a pretty impressive jump. But it takes a lot more than a tough schedule to get into the NCAAT. Clemson will have to come up with a lot more wins if they are going to accomplish that…but they at least have a good start. Wins against #29 Arkansas, #48 LSU, and #55 Syracuse are a really good start while losses to Gardner Webb and Winthrop are not. We’ll watch Clemson while they’re interesting and remove them as quickly as GT if they head back towards the bottom of the conference.

Let’s move on to the trend graphs.


I like having a lot of teams to track and for a good number to be in the top part of the bubble. As we saw last year with UNC, it will only take a short winning streak for any ACC team to move from ~55 to ~35. Of course saying it often proves a lot easier than actually doing it.

Assuming that the bottom five teams stay put, one of these teams will have to join the Bottom Five on Tuesday at the ACCT. It will be interesting to see how conference SOS plays into that process.

Upcoming Week

Both State and ND play on the road on Thursday and then play in Raleigh on Sun. Tough stretch…tougher for ND.

It will also be tough on ratings…the State/Miami game looks like the most interesting midweek game.

The weekend slate isn’t much better:

  • Battle of the Bubble on Sat with Miami playing at Syracuse.
  • ND at NCSU is the only game with two Top 50 ACC teams
  • L’ville at Pitt gives the Panthers a chance at their best win of the year.
  • Duke at St Johns might be interesting (or at least the most interesting thing at 2 pm on Sunday)



About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

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Viewing 16 posts - 26 through 41 (of 41 total)
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    One of Dave Leito’s UVA teams tied for first place in the regular season and got a nice bump.

    ^Possibly the easiest conference schedule in the history of the league, that season … IIRC.

    Doing “well” in the conference tournament doesn’t seem to garner much of a seeding bump.

    ^Yeah, for the power conferences the end of season tournaments are more for the bubble teams vying for selection as opposed to true bumps in seeding (seemingly N.C. State, every season). I suppose UVa secured their 1-seed with the ACC Tournament Championship last season, but they were going to be on the 2-line at worst (or 3-line if they lost early).

    1.21 Jigawatts

    So. I am looking through kenpom’s #s. This – so far – is gott’s 2nd best team defensively.

    And its pretty obvious that the only thing that keeps this program from being elite under Gottfried is defense. The last 3 years we have typically been one of the worst defensively of those receiving at large bids.

    Chop, which # are you using to determine this? What timespan are you using, just while at NCSU or including Bama?

    The reason I ask if you include time at Bama and use Adjusted Defensive efficiency 2015 (currently) is 97.9% and is tied for 5th best (2005 – R64) behind:

    #4 (2004 – E8 – 97.6)
    #3 (2012 – S16 – 97.1)
    #2 (2003 – R64 – 96.7)
    #1 (2002 – R32 – 95.1).

    If you use eFG% then this is by far his best team currently at 44.1% (#2 is 2002 – 46.0%).

    I agree that defense is his biggest handicap to taking the program to the next level but it’s not completely that simple. This year’s team is lacking in offensive efficiency, ranking 7th out of those 13 seasons but 5th if you look at the spread (Offensive eff. – Defensive eff.). The offense needs to improve just as much as the defense.

    Lord knows those that disagree with me know I constantly beat the drum about defensive rebounding but this team has done surprisingly well so far this season. They are sub-30% in giving up offensive rebounds and shockingly that’s the best his teams have done. There’s still plenty of season left so anything can change but that stat is a pleasant surprise. If he could somehow get his teams to force turnovers even some of the time then you’d see this team move to another level.

    Sorry, wasn’t meant to hijack the thread since this discussion can very easily be talked about on just about any other thread. So to get this back to the topic on hand….

    ….Thanks VaWolf for that insight into the bumps of end of season vs conference tournaments. Hopefully this turns out into an enjoyable watch through the regular season and not constantly wondering which few chances the Pack has left to get those marquee wins.


    The issues with our offensive have been more recently mitigated by playing more inside the paint (higher percentage shots), for example with a Martin slashing or an Anya inside move. This was virtually non-existent earlier on, where we were relying too heavily on Lacey and Turner.

    Sure defensive rebounding is not bad, but it seems like teams get easy shots against us too easily, so I’d think our overall defense numbers aren’t fantastic. Can we play solid defense without fouling? Against Duke: well enough, Against UNC: um no, and the whistle parade didn’t help.

    We’re still learning that line of aggressiveness without fouling; Duke has historically been great at this (grabby hand-checking on the perimeter) and Meeks understands this too (“elegant” moving picks). What’s good though is they are starting to form an identity on defense, well, as shot blockers, so perhaps some of the “tendencies” calls go our way, for once.


    Dance card is live and we are 100% in at this point with an overall ranking of #24.

    This is no doubt due to the non-conference schedule and their methodology which uses the “old” RPI. (From memory old RPI didn’t give as much weight to road games as current formula does.)


    Jigs – just used his time @ nc state.

    1.21 Jigawatts

    NCAA Dance Card (updated through Sunday 1/18/15)

    The formula has correctly predicted 108 of 110 at-large bids over the last three years combined (98%).

    In addition to the Dance Card value and ranking, also shown is the probability that a team with the same profile would have gotten an at-large bid in past years, if today was Selection Sunday. The RPI ranks are from the old RPI formula, in which wins on the road and losses at home are weighted equally. This is the version of the RPI used in the Dance Card’s development, and the version used to generate the predictions in all past years.

    Since the RPI is the old version and not the new (not weighted for home and away games) don’t try and compare their RPI to CBS Sports or NCAA RPI rankings but I can understand why they haven’t changed since they have only missed 2x in the last 3 years (NC State in 2014 being one of them) using the formula that created the prediction model that is still accurate today even with the weighted RPI being used by the NCAA.

    Why do I do post all of that??? Simple….they have NC State with an RPI of 17 but ranked #24 on the list with a 100% Chance of getting a bid.

    LSU, Washington, Miami, Tennessee (Last Four In)
    Mississippi, Colorado State, BYU, Tulsa (Last Four Out)

    ACC Teams
    In: UVA, Duke, UNC, Louisville, Notre Dame, NCSU
    Bubble In: Miami
    Bubble Out: Clemson, Syracuse, Pittsburgh

    Dance card is live and we are 100% in at this point with an overall ranking of #24.

    This is no doubt due to the non-conference schedule and their methodology which uses the “old” RPI. (From memory old RPI didn’t give as much weight to road games as current formula does.)

    Looks like choppack beat me to it.


    Another was to look at it, we just need to keep spitting out 4-2 segments. 12-6 gets us a 6 seed for sure.


    Jigs – love the dance card. Thanks to va wolf, yoirself and others I feel more informed on the NCAA than most of the media commenting on it.

    It’s sad that an nc state fan has to know the bubble so well, but that’s just our lot right now. Of course, the reality is that everyone not named uva and kentucky is on it right now…that changes with each week, and it would be nice to go into the tournament knowing we didn’t have to win 1-2 games to get bid. It would be even nicer to be playing for a top 7 bid in the tourney.


    The Dance Card site linked above has a 35 minute youtube video titled Analytics and the Dance Card..A method to the madness.

    May have to watch that tonight.

    If memory serves, they only update the Dance Card weekly until the regular season starts to wind down.


    I’m not as much of a number cruncher as some of you, but I’ve been watching State since the mid-70s. My eyeball assessment on this team is that it seems to be coming together very well. Was impressed by how they overcame an absolutely horrendous 2nd half at FSU to pull out a win. Good teams win games in which they play dreadfully. I don’t see any team at all remaining on the schedule that is “untouchable” if we play like we did against Duke (and I think it is very likely we will play that well several more times this year–that Duke win, IMO was not flukey like some of our wins vs. ACC elite in the past featuring 10-3 pointers by the likes of Scott Wood and CC Harrison). I see less chance of a bad loss against the really bad ACC teams, because we go at least 8 or 9 deep with players that can come in and have a huge contribution type of game (like Anya’s 14 pt. performance against Duke), so less worries when one of the starters is having a terrible performance.


    ^ good assessment Classof89. It’s prediction time. I think (hope) that Cat comes back from his bereavement with a new sense of purpose, perhaps even a devil-may-care attitude, and he shuts down A-Rod and scores well above his average. He finds himself. He leads us to a road win and he, himself, carves the roast, er, learns what it takes to compete at a high level, and to lead, in this league. May his finicky heart grow three sizes Thursday….


    Lots of folks down on Cat, but I think Lacey was gassed the last 8 minutes against FSU because of having to take more of the PG duties, and that was one reason for our struggling in 2nd half (and I think Cat’s absence was one reason for Turner’s foul trouble). Cat’s role right now is not to have an impressive stat line in terms of scoring or rebounding. It’s to have as few turnovers as possible, make the offense run smoothly, and use his quickness primarily on defense. Others have the primary scoring and rebounding roles.


    ^I think Cat is a great team player – very unselfish. He was a scorer in high school, but is trying to run a high efficiency offense in college. No doubt, he’s struggled with this at times – but he doesn’t shoot a lot (not a lot of bad shots, at least) and tries to execute what is asked of him.

    Not once has any lack of scoring or offensive struggles detracted from his defense. Aside from his speed and quickness, this is what has impressed me the most about him. There are some valid criticisms, but imo we need him on the floor. Imagine what we could be if it all comes together for him.


    ^yes, just imagine. Imagine that this is a maturity moment for him, and he begins to understand his role, and not only his role in the game, but in the bigger game, and he figures out how to deal with that role. He’s young, but I think he might have grown up in the last week. I wish the best for him. A-Rod will test him..

    1.21 Jigawatts

    CBS Sports Bracketology has a nice new feature this year concerning RPI. If you look on the right hand side you see a feature called Palm Reader where you can enter a school and see how they can improve their RPI for that day, outside of a game they are actually playing.

    For example today they have the following for N.C. State:

    How the Wolfpack Can Boost
    Their RPI Today

    Hofstra needs to beat Drexel
    Game Info: 7:00 PM

    Cincinnati needs to beat Houston
    Game Info: 7:00 PM | TV: ESNN

    Purdue needs to beat Illinois
    Game Info: 9:00 PM | TV: BTN

    Boise State needs to beat San Jose State
    Game Info: 10:00 PM

    I thought this is a pretty neat feature in case you want to follow scores of teams State has already played or even catch a some of those games to see how other games will effect State’s RPI.


    ^That’s pretty cool. Thanks for pointing out the feature.

    I probably would have never taken the time to discover it.

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