(Photo from N&O after the Miami game)
Wouldn’t you know the week after I ridicule people that bet on college sports, I see a betting line that I would like to put a C-note on. According to the yahoo sports app, Syracuse was a two point favorite on the road against GT last night. So the team that has already lost to BC and Pitt on the road is giving two points to a team that has beaten UNC, FSU, and ND at home. Of course I don’t know squat about the injury situation of either team, but that betting line looked like it was fishing for some arrogant Yankees with more money than sense.
Oh well, you can’t win if you don’t play. So let’s move on from lost chances at the casino to lost chances on the court:
RPI SUMMARY TABLE
Good Week (2-0) – L’ville, Duke, UNC, ND, and Miami
Bad Week (0-2) – SYR, BC, WF, NCSU, UVA
So we have four of the top six teams making a move to capture a Thursday start in the ACCT and only Miami making strides towards the good side of the bubble. On the other side, UVA loses ground big time on a two-round bye while SYR and WF move in the wrong direction on the bubble.
I realized last week that I haven’t been watching the OOC SOS trends as closely as I should have. GT’s OOC SOS is trending up, improving from Greenburg/Classic-Clemson-bad to Sendek-bad. Also, I’ve spent so much time harping about the two Techs, that I missed Miami’s OOC SOS rank falling to 270+. Just something else to keep an eye on as the regular season winds down.
RPI TREND GRAPHS
The national guys are still talking about Clemson, so I added them to last week’s summary table on the Bubble Teams. I think it’s too late for the Tiggers to make a move, but we might as well track them for two more weeks. So here’s the same busy table with last week’s results added:
For the most part, the story remains the same for the bubble teams. They all need wins badly. VT, GT, Miami, and especially WF could use some note-worthy wins. I would put VT and Miami in for now and GT as too close to call. SYR (3-game losing streak) and WF (lost 3 of 4) have some serious work left to do (ie OUT for now) and Clemson is definitely out.
We’ll see what we see, but it looks like things are about to get real for Miami with a tough remaining schedule. If you are interested, here’s a site that gives odds of Miami winning each of their remaining games. Bottom line – they’ve got an uphill climb for sure.
Both the Dance Card and the national bracket guys are putting nine ACC teams into the NCAAT. It might happen, but it’s far from certain. If you’re at all interested in the Bubble, then the ACCT will definitely be interesting to watch this year because we won’t be able to write most of the Bubble Teams completely off until we see if any of them have an upset or two in them.
Maybe this will be a year where a 14-loss team gets in, but I wouldn’t count on it.
My guess is that the 14 loss limit is similar to the RPI ranges I use as a quick take on the bubble discussions. I suspect that by the time the Selection Committee evaluates a team with an RPI ranking >75 or with 14+ losses, there are simply too many other teams with better resumes. In any event, 14 losses will be another guideline that we can use…and possibly by this time next week.
The professors still aren’t updating daily, but will eventually get one up covering through Sunday’s games. I’ll put a table in the comments when the Dance Card gets updated.
CURRENT ACC STANDINGS
Things aren’t quite as bunched up as last week. I expect the remaining schedule difficulty to have a big influence on which teams get the two-round byes.
Let’s lay out the schedule for the top six teams that are virtually assured of a NCAAT bid. I’ve sorted these based on a qualitative assessment of remaining schedule difficulty for the last three weeks. I had planned on just looking at the remaining two weeks, but UVA’s schedule last week was pretty brutal and deserved to be noted.
There’s room for argument/discussion on ranking schedule difficulty, but this ranking is good enough for our purposes today:
I ranked Duke’s schedule harder than UNC’s because they didn’t have any games left against the bottom of the conference and play more tough games on the road than UNC. If they can hold onto their spot on Thursday, then that should rank as a pretty good accomplishment.
Based on any/every measure that I’ve seen, UNC is still trending towards one of the easier schedules in the ACC when you look at the entire conference schedule. But with four games left against the top third of the conference, their remaining schedule easily ranks near the top in difficulty.
My UVA source said before the season that he was expecting a drop-off this year. For a while I thought he was being too pessimistic, but a little closer examination shows that he might not have been that far off:
UVA’s five-game winning streak only included one truly note-worthy win at ND. But even that is a little suspect because the ND win came during a stretch of games where ND wasn’t performing well. So while we never throw wins away, who they played does put UVA’s winning streak in perspective. Since that streak, they’ve gone 2-5 with no embarrassing losses but not a lot to brag about. Time is running out and UVA’s 3-game losing streak may have locked them into a Wednesday slot.
L’ville’s ACC schedule as a whole ranks much harder than UNC’s, but clearly their remaining schedule is a step or two easier than UNC/UVA. They’re only one game behind UNC, so tying or passing them for the regular season title isn’t hard to imagine.
I have to laugh when some media type pushes FSU as a legitimate Final Four prospect. I’ll be pulling for them in the NCAAT, but I don’t see a team that has already lost on the road to GT, Pitt, and SYR as a legitimate FF threat. But back to the ACCT seeding….FSU has road games left with Duke and Clemson. So I’ll be impressed if they can move back into a Thursday slot.
ND clearly has the easiest remaining schedule, so if they can’t hold onto a Thursday spot…then I wouldn’t put much money on their NCAAT chances either.
UPCOMING ACC SCHEDULE
Between six teams battling for a two-round bye in the ACCT and another five teams battling to clear the bubble, there are plenty of story lines to watch if you’re still interested in what’s happening on the court.
Just in case next week’s entry runs a little late, I included the games for Monday, 2/27. First up, UVA will try to avenge its earlier loss in Chapel Hill. Then after that game, VT and Miami battle for a better position on the bubble. Big Monday might live up to that title on the 27th.
So that about wraps things up with two weeks left in the regular season.