ACC BB Update

(Photo from News & Observer’s web site)

Last night might not turn the season around, but boy does it feel good for now. I was concerned that the team might give up after the WF debacle. But they clearly showed plenty of fight in coming back from a big deficit and then holding Duke off down the stretch.  (I like that the game ended with a State steal, rather than a free throw or missed shot.) Hopefully there is enough time before their next game on Sunday against Louisville to celebrate and then get focused on what comes next.



Data from ESPN. Does not include Duke/State game.

I’ve changed up the columns a little this week. I added a column for conference SOS and highlighted the bottom third, which includes State, Miami, and Syracuse. As we near the half-way point in the conference schedule, when you have a losing conference record against one of the easier conference schedules…then the future doesn’t look too good as the schedule difficulty ramps up. (More on State after the Trend Graphs.)

A good record against an easy schedule doesn’t necessarily prove anything about the teams in question. So we can’t penalize UVA and UNC for their easier schedules. It’s just something to keep in mind as the season unfolds and their schedule difficulty picks up.

FSU has earned a 6-1 ACC record against the toughest conference schedule in the nation to this point in the season. They’ve also played five of their seven ACC games at home. So, their remaining schedule is going to get a little easier. But starting this week, they’re going to playing on the road a lot. Since I’m not a Leonard Hamilton fan, I’m always curious to see if FSU can maintain whenever they start out hot.

The RPI math thinks more of ND’s ACC schedule difficulty than I do. Their only win worth discussing was over L’ville at home, but their only loss was at FSU.

Normally, RPI rankings of 38/50 would be good enough to put Pitt and Clemson in the Bubble category. But with only two conference wins between them, they’re going to have to improve a lot before they can even talk about the NIT.

Unless VT gets 10+ wins in conference play, it’s going to be difficult to place them solidly in the field with their stinker of an OOC schedule. (There is simply no excuse for an OOC SOS ranking near 300.) On the more positive side, VT went 2-0 against teams in the bottom half of the conference to get over 0.500 in conference play AND in the RPI Top-40. So they clearly deserve to be IN this week.

I was pretty tough on WF last week. They still don’t have a top-50 win, but they had a good week going 2-0 against teams in the bottom half. They’ve moved close enough to 0.500 in conference play to put them IN for now.

I quickly looked over both WF’s and VT’s remaining schedule. It’s not hard to envision a scenario where both teams could end the season at 0.500 in conference play without another Top-50 win. When you consider VT’s OOC SOS and WF having no Top-50 wins, that wouldn’t be a comfortable position for either team. Note that these two teams end the conference schedule in B’burg. So there’s a chance that their last game could be key in solidifying a NCAAT bid.



(Duke/State’s graph updated for last night’s game. All others are only through the weekend games.)

[RANT] I hate Monday night games. They seriously interfere with the flow of weekly blog updates by making it difficult to have the entry both up to date and timely. No matter when you post the entry, it will be outdated in less than 24 hours. [/RANT] Last night was State’s only Monday night game this year and I don’t care about how quickly the other team’s projections change. So as long as life doesn’t interfere, we’ll go back to shooting for Monday updates on the conference.

The open question is what to do with NC State and the various NCAAT groups in the weekly RPI table. I toyed around with updating the RPI table and classifying State on the Bubble based on their RPI. But then I remembered the BC, Miami, GT, and WF games….which means that there is a lot of conflicting data and the case can be argued either way.

I finally decided on a compromise of keeping the RPI table through last weekend’s game and updating Duke/State’s graphs to show the effect of a road win and a home loss. So far this season, we have seen two games that looked like State was an NCAAT team…VT and last night at Duke. So in the end, State has shown that they have a lot of potential. But they just haven’t done it frequently enough to be a serious contender for any bracket projections today. A losing conference record against the easy portion of their schedule doesn’t build confidence.

WF’s trend line looks good, but I’m just not a believer yet. However, they could quickly convert me if they could beat someone worth talking about.

Through a quirk of RPI math, Pitt moved back into the Top-40 while having the weekend off. But that little move won’t fool anyone and probably won’t last. If you go back up to the RPI Table, you’ll see that Pitt has Top-20 ranking in conference, OOC, and overall SOS. This would probably earn them some good thoughts from the NCAAT Selection Committee….but they’ve got to actually win a bunch of games first.



(Updated after Mon night game)

From the trend graphs, you would expect Louisville to show up on Thursday. But L’ville has played a tough schedule thus keeping their RPI elevated while the ACC losses mount. Losing @ND, @FSU, and to UVA aren’t horrible, but it does begin to define their position in the conference.

It looks like the teams at the top and the teams at the bottom are starting to build some separation. Maybe it’s just my sarcastic nature, but it looks like we might end up with about half of the conference battling for a spot on ACCT Tuesday.



Here’s the upcoming ACC schedule for next week:

Not a lot of games that stand out to me as “must see”. But with over half the conference having losing records, it’s not unexpected. Here are some games of interest to me:

  • UVA at ND and then at Villanova
  • Duke at ND

FSU starts a 3-game road trip this week. All of the teams (GT, SYR, and Miami) are beatable, but now let’s see how FSU does away from home.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Hopefully, I’ll get next week’s conference update posted before the Duke/ND game. But I included it in this week’s schedule just in case.

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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  • #115546

    Last night might not turn the season around, but boy does it feel good for now.
    [See the full post at: ACC BB Update]


    They missed some shots but I felt we were more active and therefore better. They still got open a bunch. Rebounding stood out, have not seen the stats. Honestly all things considered the difference was Kapita and Smith just being clutch a handful of times.

    Kapita is active around the rim like no one else, sometimes overzealously. Clearly one of the “motors” of this team that includes DSJ, Rowan, Markell. We’ll never be a great, even “good” defense team under Gott, but the energy guys with their individual talents helps address gaps.

    We need more penetration and pounding the paint, while albeit will be more difficult against big, athletic teams like Miami, but we shouldn’t shy away. We saw this last year too, long, missed jump shots that turn into breakouts, essentially 4-5 point swings.

    An important area of improvement? Patience + taking care of the ball. We regularly hit 15 turnovers a game. Against Duke? Under 10. The book on us thus far is “disrupt the offense and they are cooked”. And the longer you have the ball, the more they work on defense, and the less opportunities they have to score. Hopefully they are getting the message on this and can apply this during even the most stressful situations (opposing teams “runs”).


    I need some basic RPI instruction. How can State’s RPI be 72 and Miami’s 75 when our schedule strength is much stronger and we’ve won the same percentage of games played?


    Wow, it has gotten to the time where our RPI graph gets all schizo. Fun times!!


    I need some basic RPI instruction. How can State’s RPI be 72 and Miami’s 75 when our schedule strength is much stronger and we’ve won the same percentage of games played?

    The formula was changed during the era of the Great Herb Debate to use adjusted winning percentage:
    Home win/Road loss = 0.7
    Neutral win/loss = 1.0
    Road win/home loss = 1.4

    Also don’t forget that all of the numbers are rankings, not the calculated numbers. Sometimes there is a big gap between one ranking and the next and sometimes the difference is in the fourth decimal place.

    So I expect your answer is somewhere between those two facts.


    The NCAA has the real numbers through last nights games.

    State is 1-4 on the road; Miami is 2-2
    State is 11-2 at home; Miami is 8-1

    Thus Miami wins on adjusted winning percentage in both categories. State is 1/2 game ahead on neutral -> 2-1 vs 2-2

    PS – As I expected, it looks like CBS’s numbers are more accurate than ESPNs. Note that I will continue to use ESPN because their format makes it much quicker to build the tables and update the trend graphs.


    VAWOLF82 – Thanks for your patience but I am still struggling. Your above link to the NCAA RPI calculations shows NC State’s RPI at 60. ESPN’s current calculation puts it at 56. I can see where different sites can vary this much but the first chart in your entry reflects our RPI at 72. I must be missing something.


    Ignore our rpi for now.

    If we win 6 out of next 10, we will be in. Win 5 out of 10 and we go I to the tourney on the bubble with work to do.

    The NCAA has given hints it is going to start looking at more sophistimicated data….Like Kenpom and sagarin.

    If we win 6 out of next 10 every metric will be fine. Else, we better have one heck of an ACC tournament.


    VAWOLF82 – Thanks for your patience but I am still struggling. Your above link to the NCAA RPI calculations shows NC State’s RPI at 60. ESPN’s current calculation puts it at 56. I can see where different sites can vary this much but the first chart in your entry reflects our RPI at 72. I must be missing something.

    Look at note under RPI table. Values through Sunday’s games to keep everyone on an even footing. Updated values shown on graphs for Duke and State to show effect of Monday’s game.


    Ignore our rpi for now.

    I used to fixate on States RPI. Now I pay much more attention to our opponents RPI…looking for good wins and bad losses. But as chop says, we can just watch the ACC record. 9-9 and State’s in.


    This will be you after the glistening dew of hope fades.



    Fascinating scores tonight…..

    Louisville totally embarrasses (OK, we HAVE been there) Pitt. 106 – 51 OUCH….

    UVA triumphs over Notre Dame 71 – 54

    WFU falls to the Orange of Cuse. Too much celebration….81 – 76

    BUT, the game of the NIGHT. Ricky Ticky Barnes (a Hickory native) pulls out a win over Cal of Kentucky (#4) 82 – 80. Reminded me of a game that I saw last night and also watched the last 5 minutes again tonight.

    BUT, #1 Villanova gets taken out by unranked Marquette. 74 – 72…

    And Billy Self of KU (#2) gets whipped by #18 WVU….85 – 69

    All in all, a real shakeup of the top 3 out of 4 teams.


    Yes Vawolf – I was hoping we wouldn’t have to pay attention to the bubble this year, but alas, it looks like if we make the tournament, it will come down to the last week or two of the season like our last 4 and that, if we are lucky – we’ll be in the 10-13 seed.


    After the beat downs in the OOC schedule, the best case scenario was to get to 9-9 while picking up an upset or two along the way. But they dug a big hole with the losses to BC on the road and then GT and WF at home (and to a lesser extent the road loss to Miami.) I don’t think that any reasonable projection would get to 9-9 without wins in at least two of those four losses.

    A loss Sunday @L’ville would mean that State would need a 6-3 record in the second half of the conference schedule. My fear is that the hole is simply too deep now to climb out of…unless of course a lot of other teams forget how to shoot 3’s like Duke did.

    EDIT to add this from


    N.C. State shot 55 percent after halftime, while Duke went from shooting 57 percent before halftime to 38 percent after the break. That included the Blue Devils missing 12 of 14 3-point tries in the final 20 minutes.


    I don’t know anything about, but they have ranked State’s remaining games by difficulty and assigned odds to State winning. It’s going to be tough to come up with six wins:


    I think we can do OK vs Louisville if we handle their pressure. Truthfully, they scare me less than anyone because of their offensive inconsistency.

    But yes, you are correct – in that, similar to last year, Gottfried blew a chance at the post season in the first half of the year.

    What would be “interesting” would be our status if we go the projected 7-11 and then win 2 or 3 tourney games. In such an event, I imagine our rpi would be slightly better than it is now so we’d go into selection Sunday with slight shot. (And you know Swofford would like to buy our continued silence regarding an ongoing NCAA issue.)


    And Billy Self of KU (#2) gets whipped by #18 WVU….85 – 69

    I read Huggy bear has a clause in his contract that he gets $25K every time he beats Kansas and I think this is four in a row.


    What would be “interesting” would be our status if we go the projected 7-11 and then win 2 or 3 tourney games.

    If anyone knows of example(s) of teams going on a streak in the conference tournament (without winning it) and earning a NCAAT bid, I wish that you would list it here so that I can include it in the last bubble report before the ACCT. Even if State doesn’t make it to 7 or 8 wins, someone else will.

    The only one that I can think of is Arkansas went to the conference finals the same year that Sid made it to the ACCT finals. The details (including year) are fuzzy, but I need to dig up the details on that.

    There might be something in the BE history before the ACC raided it and the remnants split into two conferences. I don’t know because I never paid them any attention (other than their annual beat down in the old ACC/BE challenge).


    Arkansas was 7-9 that year and made it to the championship that year beating Mississippi state and Vandy. (The SEC west was putrid that year with an 8-8 record winning the division. Looking at his sec record it appears he would have been a better hire than, well…)

    I know we made the tourney when we lost to Duke in the semis after the Chris Paul nut punch and we had a losing record.

    FSU made it one year with a 6-10 record, but I don’t think they made much noise in the ACC tournament that year.

    Sendek’s first year and either his 3rd or 4th we got within a mention (on the show) but I didn’t watch the selection show with any expectation / anticipation of a bid.

    Like you said, there’s a good chance this year someone in conference will have a record that would have likely excluded them from consideration that will pop up at least in the discussion on Sunday.


    I read Huggy bear has a clause in his contract that he gets $25K every time he beats Kansas and I think this is four in a row.



    Arkansas was 7-9

    I was hoping that it was worse than that. As you mentioned, State got in with 7-9 and an ACCT upset and UMD did it a few years later. In the comments to the Pre-Season Review, I linked a previous entry where I documented both teams’ OOC wins worth noting and their entire conference schedule in chronological order.

    I think all three examples give us some data on what it would take with an 8-10 record. I was hoping to find a precedent for a 7-11 conference record. At the least, it would take a Thursday win. I just don’t know if even that would be enough.


    A few years ago a “Thursday win” was the play-in game, I guess it would be the 3rd round for the pack potentially. (I.e. a quarter finals win.)


    I am concerned about Louisville. We’ve struggled, particularly on the road, against teams that play physical defense. We don’t seem to want to play physical unless we clearly outmatch the other team.

    It would take a heck of a rally for us to make the tournament at this point. It’s not that we can’t. We have more talent than most of those teams. It’s just that the easy games are behind us, and match up wise Louisville, UNC, UVA and FSU look rough (and honestly look like the top 4 in the ACC to me). That means we have to upset one, or hold serve against the rest.

    Or we can just win the ACC tournament. That’s a bit tough without one of those top 4 slots, which is what some of us have been highlighting for a while…


    Yea the – I don’t see a conference tournament title under Gott. In his 5 years here he has never won more than 2 tournament games in a row and he doesn’t manage his bench well enough to handle the current schedule.

    Regarding Louisville, I think they may be missing 2 of their top 3 guards. However, they will still play hard.

    We will have to be tough and protect the ball again. If we don’t get killed on the boards and we don’t turn it over we will win. Of course, of our 8 games we have done that 3 times so far.


    Dook lost Monday night, ya’ll remember that one!
    Kentucky, Kansas & ‘Nova lost last night…

    Now this… and it’s not a typo….


    ‘Engineers -FORTY ONE
    #6 — NOLES – 15

    That’s right…
    ‘NOLES starting five has FOUR points!

    UnF’ingBelievable !!!
    EMT on Alert to rush L.Hamilton to Emory as soon as he finishes his halftime trirade…

    SMOKE IF You GOTT ’em…

    AFD watching for Smoke coming out the ‘NOLES locker room just in case L.Hamilton sets a trashcan on fire before he goes into cardiac arrest…

    He’s not one to mess with when he’s mad..

    And on the metaphysical level, the NCAA-MBB Sun, Moon && Stars must all be lined up in some crazya## way… Let’s hope that lasts at least 10 more days….

    #UPSET ALERT @UncleRoy in South Beach this Saturday…

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