Strange week in that the “mid-week” games were front-loaded on Monday and Tuesday, with only two games total left for Wed and Thursday. Oh and the two games on Wed and Thurs weren’t worth the time to watch. Wednesday’s game was against two teams in the bottom third with nothing left to play for and FSU didn’t bother to put much effort into their game against Syracuse. So let’s move onto the RPI Table…
Since UNC managed to stop their two-game losing streak after squeezing by BC, I don’t know that there is anything else dramatically interesting to discuss. We’ll get a better read on UNC over the next few weeks since State is the only team they’ll play before the ACCT that doesn’t have a good shot at the NCAAT.
I’ve put the ACC standings immediately below this section so that you can scroll up and down as we go over a few things.
With only two games separating 4th place (ignoring UL) and 9th place, there are too many possibilities to discuss…with the possible exception that I may have written UVA off a little too soon. They look like they’ve recovered from back-to-back losses to the two Techs and are on a 7-game winning streak. Remember that their last two weeks are pretty tough (@Miami, UNC, @Clemson, L’ville), so don’t pencil them in for a #2 seed just yet.
I’ve been picking on Duke and UNC for their easy conference schedules to date. I thought we would take a broader look and make some projections on where the conference SOS will end up at the conclusion of the regular season.
The simplistic approach to conference SOS that I’ve used the last couple of years is to total the wins for each team’s home/away opponents. With the bottom four teams being so bad this year, it doesn’t take much of a system to pick out which teams will likely end up with the hard/easy awards this year by focusing on who doubles (or triples) up on the bottom four teams and who only plays a total of four games against the Bottom Four.
Notre Dame – GT, WF, BC (and UM)
UNC – State, BC (and Duke, SYR)
Clemson – GT, BC (and UVA, FSU)
Duke – State, WF (and UNC, UL)
UVA – L’ville, Clemson, Miami, VT
Miami – UVA, ND, FSU, VT
BC and GT will both exceed these two, but does it really matter?
At this time of the season, we often talk about the muddled middle fighting over each other for a spot in the NCAAT. This year there are enough wins available for everyone still in contention. They just have to be good enough to earn them. The one thing that I watch for is those teams huddling around 0.500 in conference. You absolutely do not want a losing conference record entering into the ACCT.
Pitt started out 3-0 and then started to tail off; going 3-5 over the last month. Pitt could stand to improve their position, but a Top-25 win and a total of three Top-50 wins exceed the minimum threshold that we’ve seen going back to the days of the Herbble.
Syracuse is riding a four-game winning streak and 7 of their last eight. While a number of those wins are not impressive, wins are always better than losses. Three Top-25 wins and a total of five Top 50 wins puts them in pretty good shape as long as they don’t suddenly start following Clemson’s example…
Clemson lost two of three on their road trip and then lost to ND at home. That kind of performance is not going to get the job done. The only game they have left against a probable NCAAT team is UVA on March 1. So they really need to rack up wins now to keep from needing big wins in the ACCT. It’s a shame that a team with six Top-50 wins can’t even make Jerry Palm’s (CBS Sports) bottom rung on his Bubble Watch. On The Dance Card, they’re seven spots below the burst line…and that was before they lost to ND. Bottom line, lots of ground to make up and as easy of a schedule as you’ll likely find in a P5 conference. If they can’t clean up in those games, then they probably don’t deserve a NCAAT bid.
I de-cluttered this graph by only including the last four weeks AND I’ve kept the extended version of “IN” for now. I’m keeping my eyes on Pitt, SYR, and FSU to see if they can lock in a spot in the NCAAT before the ACCT starts.
I’ve de-cluttered this graph by removing the teams that are irrelevant for a discussion of the NCAAT. This graph nicely illustrates that it is possible to dig yourself out of a hole. If Clemson can pick up the pace, their conference season will show the biggest turnaround I’ve seen since I’ve been tracking RPI.
Even though this season has been miserable for State fans, it is nice that there are a good number of interesting games to watch if you’re so inclined.
Two things to pull for during a Duke/UNC game:
- Sink hole to open up and swallow the stadium
- Pull for visitors to win so that you watch the crying co-eds in the stands
(Shamelessly stolen from a Pack Pride thread years ago.)