Since the ACC’s only Thursday night game is going as expected, it seems safe enough to use Thursday morning’s RPI data for our weekly update:
It’s interesting to note that UNC has the fewest Top-50 wins among those teams rated as IN.
On Monday morning, I noticed that GT had moved past Clemson on the Dance Card rankings. Two consecutive wins in games that went down to the wire moved GT up nicely. But this is probably the only place that you will see GT listed as “on the Bubble”. With their RPI and Top-50 wins, you might be thinking that State has earned a NCAAT bid from worse positions than this. But if you look at GT’s conference record, I figure that their late surge is probably going to end up “too little, too late”.
In a strange quirk of mathematical irony, Pitt lost two Top 50 wins with their road win at Syracuse….since SYR drop to #51 immediately after the loss and then to #54 with no mid-week game. But I like Jerry Palm’s (cbssports.com) classification for both SYR and Pitt as “In for Now”.
The Dance Card tries to turn the selection process into black and white, but it looks like the professors would agree with Palm:
I may have to take a closer look at the Dance Card calcs for previous years, because the “Chance of Bid” column makes it look like the Bubble is going to be tougher to climb over than recent years. I find it interesting that in one week, the “Chance of Bid” improved dramatically for quite a few teams. With such slight differences from one team to the next, Bubble Teams really need to win and move further from the edge.
Note that the Bubble would be even tougher to climb if L’ville and SMU weren’t ineligible for post-season play.
I dropped back to the usual scale for this graph…which drops SYR and Pitt onto the Bubble Graph.
L’ville’s three-game win streak is paying dividends (if you’re going for moral victories).
Based on their graph, it’s a little surprising to see that ND has won four of their last five games. But their last two were a loss at GT and a win against WF…both of which hurt their RPI ranking.
The top five (not counting L’ville) are playing for NCAAT seeding, and Pitt/SYR are fighting to secure their spot in the NCAAT field. I decided to list the opponents remaining for the top seven in one place to get a sense of who has the easiest/hardest path remaining. Games against the top eight (including L’ville) are highlighted to help with the illustration:
UVA – UNC, @Clemson, L’ville
UNC – @UVA, SYR, @Duke
Miami – L’ville, @ND, @VT
Duke – @Pitt, WF, UNC
ND – @FSU, UM, NCSU
Pitt – Duke, @VT, @GT
SYR – NCSU, @UNC, @FSU
It’s interesting that the three teams with the lowest RPI ranking have the easiest schedules…which should help cement seven bids for the ACC.
There are still too many possibilities to discuss among the teams at the top. But the two main possibilities are that one team will take a big step forward and claim a top NCAAT seed OR the teams at the top will eat their own and the ACC won’t get a one seed. So the last eight days of the regular season should be interesting, even if State’s games aren’t.
FSU’s late-season swoon reminds me of Herb’s fourth(?) year where a late-game collapse against UMD blossomed into something like a seven-game losing streak. State went from working for a NCAAT bid to yet another trip to the NIT. (If memory serves, State chose black uniforms for that UMD game.) The way the NIT selection process has changed since then, FSU may not even get a bid to the original losers’ tournament. (Can anyone explain to me why we need TWO losers’ tournaments?)
If GT continues their miraculous turn-around, then we’ll give them a more thorough examination in the Last Look at The Bubble before the ACCT.
It will be interesting to see if ND can turn their easier schedule down the stretch into a two-round bye.
FSU’s collapse has moved them from looking good for a NCAAT bid to fighting (and currently losing) for the last slot on Wednesday in the ACCT.
Last week, it looked like one of the Techs would escape ACCT Tuesday for the first time. Now they both may move out of a Tuesday slot.
VT plays @WF and then Pitt and UM at home. So they have a shot at finishing the year with a 0.500 ACC record…which would be a remarkable accomplishment in Buzz’s second year. Even if they don’t reach 0.500, they have certainly exceeded all expectations.
As we discussed in the forums on Thursday, State is 0-4 against FSU, VT, and GT…meaning that State would lose all tie-breakers over the Tue/Wed games. Thus there is essentially no chance for State to move out of a Tuesday ACCT game.
The way this year has gone, I’m glad that State’s Senior Night is against BC.
Would it really be that difficult to arrange the schedule so that State’s last game is against WF, alternating between Raleigh and Winston-Salem?
In fact, why can’t the last Saturday include the natural rivalries that are already built into the concept of defined rivals…to go along with UNC/Duke?
- NCSU vs WF
- FSU vs Miami
- GT vs Clemson
- UVA vs VT
- Any rivalry that I’ve missed?
Someone has to have the last Saturday off, so rotate the off game among the other five teams….or rotate the last game off among everyone, with the rivalry game played most years. It shouldn’t be that difficult, but it doesn’t look like anyone cares.