Basketball Update – One Month Left

Well, there’s one month left in the regular season and then what’s normally the best time of the college season starts.   While this year hasn’t been much fun for State fans, there is potential for a record number of ACC teams to make the Big Dance. So let’s get to it:


Since there are no ACC teams playing Thursday night, I used Thursday morning’s RPI rankings so I could have this entry ready by Friday morning. By the time this is published at SFN, there will have been some small changes because of the Thursday night games, but no relative movement between the ACC teams.

Since ESPN is nice enough to put these numbers in such a convenient format, I include them every week for the convenience of our readers even if there isn’t anything new that I want to discuss. But as it happens, there are several interesting things to tease out since I don’t closely follow any team’s season besides State.


I found it interesting that among the 10 ACC teams building a NCAAT resume, Duke had the fewest Top 50 wins (and no Top 25 wins). So just who did they beat?

“*” – Neutral Site

So it’s been two months since Duke’s last Top 50 win. Their best ACC win to date is @GT. Bottom line? That’s not too good.

The other thing that stood out to me was that Duke continues to have the easiest ACC conference schedule. So who have they played and does their schedule get any harder?

So it’s fair to say that their second-half schedule is substantially harder than the first half and they only managed a 5-4 record against the EASIEST ACC SCHEDULE thus far. At present, Duke appears to be headed for their worst regular season in quite some time. (I remember a .500 ACC season but didn’t take the time to nail down the year.) It will be interesting to see if they can recover or not.


I’ve heard several announcers anoint UNC as the class of the ACC this year. While that may end up being the case, it’s a little premature to make that proclamation based on the results achieved against the SECOND easiest ACC schedule:

Note that their toughest ACC game thus far was also their last game in the first half…and they lost. I’ll save my proclamations for just a while longer.


While UNC’s and Duke’s schedules ramp up in difficulty, neither matches what Louisville is facing:

Note that L’ville’s schedule difficulty actually started ramping up with their last two games in the first half. After getting spanked by UVA, it is good they managed to hold on and beat UNC. Losing two games at home would not have been a good segue into their second-half opponents, where five of the games are on the road…and all of the road games are against teams well on their way to NCAAT bids.


I’m feeling unusually generous this week, so I expanded the “IN” criteria to include Syracuse. With a winning conference record (after an 0-4 start) along with four Top-50 wins, there is no reason to think that Syracuse wouldn’t be included in any reasonable bracket.

I cropped the first 10 days of January off this week’s bubble graph to help declutter it. If things continue on their current trajectory, I’ll delete the teams that have fallen/falling off the low end next week. If everyone on the first graph manages to stay there, I might drop the Bubble Graph and just show Clemson’s progress through the RPI Rankings.


Clemson finally moved solidly into the bubble graph this week and should be able to improve their standing beyond their current “slim chance”. Or maybe I should say if they can’t win enough with their remaining schedule to remove all doubt, then they don’t really deserve an at-large bid:

Clemson has seven ACC wins (six against Top-50 teams) and six games remaining against the bottom third of the conference. I said a couple of weeks ago that it didn’t take much optimism to see Clemson ending up with 12 ACC wins. Anything less than 12 would have to be classified as “disappointing” based on how they’ve played since the New Year.

FSU and SYR are in good shape today, but their road is not quite as easy as Clemson’s:


FSU sits at 5-5 in conference and could wrap up a NCAAT bid before the ACCT…but could just as easily fall back into the Bubble region. Time will tell….


SYR has six ACC wins in the book. 3+ wins are certainly doable, but not guaranteed.

I find It interesting that FSU and SYR not only play each other twice over the remaining schedule, but finish the regular season playing each other in Tallahassee.


The top 10 ACC teams have a .500 or better conference record to go along with a minimum of two Top-50 wins. From our days on the Herbble, State fans know that both of those things are very, very good. Of course you need to hold onto that 0.500 record through the remaining month of the regular season.

I’ve always said that the loser of the 8/9 game on Wednesday would have a really hard time getting an at-large NCAAT bid. This year we might see that “really hard” doesn’t mean “impossible”.

VT has finally fallen below 0.500 with their current five-game losing streak. Buzz probably won’t get it done this year, but he’s done a remarkable job turning around the dumpster fire he took over.



With 10 teams having a realistic chance at the NCAAT, the number of games worth watching has gone up nicely. For the remainder, I’ll check the scores on my phone and try to catch any upsets that are on cable.

State doesn’t have a mid-week game this week. They host WF a week after the Duke game.

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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  • #98874

    Well, there’s one month left in the regular season and then what’s normally the best time of the college season starts…  
    [See the full post at: Basketball Update – One Month Left]


    I think we can all agree this is a throw away year and hope it gets better next year. I have watched the least amount of basketball my entire life this year.


    I have been watching this year, but only sporadically. It has been painful, but not as painful as most of the Lowe years. At this point, my real interest is in Cat’s play. He better be very strong in the ACC-POY conversation, even given that he is playing on a non-tourney team. I will be very disappointed if he is not at least 2nd team All American.


    As painful as watching the losses have been, I’ve been tuning in, just to watch Cat. He is truly a treat to watch.


    I didn’t think about the Dance Card until just now. Here’s their analysis of the ACC teams going through Sunday’s games. Later in the season, they will switch to a daily update.

    Dance Card Site:


    Normally, in addition to Va’s updates, I would have been looking at the Dance Card and RPI charts regularly. This year, Va’s imbed of this week’s Dance Card above is the first I’ve seen of either.

    But I’m firmly in the “Still watching the Kitteh” camp. Dude deserves it (as do the rest).


    Cat has been amazing this year.

    Hey – maybe we can win 3 straight and get on the bubble?


    ^ I think our only legit shot (if you consider it legit), is to win the ACC Tourny. It would be about time.


    ‘One Month Left’ – good


    Yeah, one month left equals good. But only 1 month left of watching Cat Daddy equals sad.

    Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy. Mao Zedong


    John Swofford’s “New And Improved ACC” rolls on!

    Well, looks like the Pack will move up a notch in the ACC standings! Who knows, this just might get them out of having to play on ACCT Tuesday!

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Pitino.


    Updated ACC Standings


    Thanks for the update. Your work is appreciated.

    I’ve watched the least amount of NC State that I’ve watched in my lifetime. When I do watch (minus a half here or there), it is painfully bad.

    I’ve watched probably the least amount of NCAA basketball in total in my lifetime. When I do watch, the product is generally not that good. Having said that, most of the teams that I’ve seen play look like they could beat NC State this year. We’re just bad on so many levels outside of Cat. Almost every team I casually watch looks better at fundamentals, has crisper ball movement, etc..

    NC State’s only chance at the post season is to win the ACC tournament. In the current tournament format, the likelihood of that run has to be less than 1%.

    This is setting up for a historically bad season. It’s hard not to see this as a burning dumpster fire. It’s too bad we’re going to look the other way and pretend it’s a mulligan.

    jimi eno47

    L’ville has done the right thing …. never thought I’d say they would show some degree of class, but they have. HOWEVER, the lying, cheating bastards up the road continue on their march toward the big dance. I’m so tired of unCheat’s arrogance.


    I’ve watched probably the least amount of NCAA basketball in total in my lifetime.

    5 years of Les + first 5 years of Herb. State was too painful to watch and watching other games just reminded me how much State sucked.


    If anyone cares….in ’06-’07 Duke went 8-8 in conference. This might end up their worst year since then.


    ^^ all memories of the good old days…I held season tickets during both the Les Robinson and Sidney Lowe era’s. I also had tickets the first 2 years of the Herb Sendek era.


    If anyone cares….in ’06-’07 Duke went 8-8 in conference. This might end up their worst year since then.

    When K starts getting the “bad team” back problems, you know his team is not good. I am sure he will try to get this record expunged from this record.


    5 years of Les + first 5 years of Herb. State was too painful to watch and watching other games just reminded me how much State sucked.

    A world of this. Didn’t think that much about it at the time, but later was embarrassed at how much I lost touch during this dark age.

    Appreciate your work – always look forward to these in-season analyses.


    I was a student (undergrad and grad) during the Les and HWSNBN eras. I witnessed a lot of putrid basketball.

    The difference then was that there was always hope that we’d return to our rightful place. Les was the alum falling on the sword for ridiculousness. The next guy would come in and win like we had under V and Sloan. It was to be briefly endured. HWSNBN’s ten long miserable years, 5 of which were after it was obvious he wasn’t the answer, the hiring of Lowe and his incredibly predictable results and this regime’s reboot of HWSNBN’s last five have about finished me off.

    We are seemingly destined to blow timing opportunity after timing opportunity because we’re seemingly too scared to do what needs to be done. We will underachieve until all our comparative advangtes are gone. We’ll have no one but ourselves to blame.


    I think we can all agree this is a throw away year

    I don’t agree, so please do not presume to speak for me or others. I have enjoyed watching this team get better very much and still get excited to watch every game. We have a chance every game we play, and Cat has kept raising his level of play seemingly every game. I do not understand why you feel qualified to keep commenting on the teams play when you say you have not been watching them.


    Hey – maybe we can win 3 straight and get on the bubble?

    Maybe the NIT bubble.

    john of sparta

    TV “backloads” the ACC schedule.
    build them up to tear them down = drama.
    this is turning into Dancing With the Stars.


    If anyone cares….in ’06-’07 Duke went 8-8 in conference. This might end up their worst year since then.

    As another “old” Big Four guy — (e.g. the greatest Christmas BBall tourny ever…)

    it’s also worth noting the Devils still have to play the Holes this month…
    although they only play ONE TIME in Swoffy’s new and improved ACC….
    which by all accounts is blaspheme…

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!
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