Photo from Ethan Hyman of the News & Observer
Last week had several games worthy of note:
BC pulls off another home upset by beating FSU mid-week. (Betting line FSU -3.5).
In a less than surprising result, UNC beat Clemson in Chapel Hill. (0-59 for those keeping score at home). UNC even managed to comfortably cover the 6 point spread.
Good Road Wins:
Duke over Miami (Duke -4)
Louisville over ND in Double OT (Surprising point spread at ND-3)
FSU rolled into Blacksburg for a matchup between two teams on last week’s Bubble Graph. FSU needed a win to move back towards “IN” and VT needed a win to keep from falling off of the back side of the Bubble. VT was a 2 point favorite (which surprised me), but FSU won convincingly.
Now let’s move to the conference standings to see what impact last week’s results have had:
RPI SUMMARY TABLE
I normally only include the columns that I’m going to talk about. But I think that it would be better just to include everything so that hopefully all of you can find stuff of interest that I miss.
In preparation for next week’s mid-season entry, I started putting together something on ACC SOS. With those conclusions still in mind, there were several things that stuck out when I copied this table from ESPN.
1) Yes, Duke’s conference schedule is really that easy and doesn’t look to be getting much tougher with the exception that both UNC games are in the second half schedule. This is easy to prove since their H/A opponents this year are UNC, WF, VT, and Pitt. But their OOC SOS is more than making up for the overall drop in SOS that their conference schedule will bring.
2) I had just concluded that VT had the toughest conference schedule this year when I saw that they had one of the weaker ACC schedules to date. With Duke, UVa, L’ville, and Miami for H/A opponents, I feel pretty good about my ranking. The only logical conclusion is that they will have a murderous second half to their conference schedule. So I checked and their last 9 conference games include four games against teams currently ranked in the RPI Top 10, 2 games against Miami, and they play host to L’ville. In other words, VT’s second-half ACC schedule has seven of nine games against teams headed for the NCAAT.
I’ll have more to say about the rest of the conference next week.
BC had a tough schedule last week with a home game against FSU (win) and a road game Sunday at Louisville (loss). With State playing WF and Miami, BC just snuck by State for the nation’s hardest conference schedule to date.
As we’ll see once again in the trend graphs, home losses moved both VT and State off the back side of the Bubble.
RPI TREND GRAPHS
In case anyone was wondering, I normally try to add data points to the trend graphs on Mon and Friday to capture the results of the weekend and mid-week games.
Duke, UNC, and UVa all went 2-0 this week to stay in the RPI Top 10. With UVa’s graph, we see that road wins against two of the worst teams in the ACC don’t always boost your RPI ranking.
Clemson went 1-1 (with a road loss to UNC) to stay a little better than even with last week.
Louisville is riding a four-game winning streak and people are beginning to say “Rick who?”.
Miami lost a little ground with a 1-1 record last week. Comparing Clemson with Miami (both teams lost on the road), it’s easy to see that it is difficult/impossible to predict how a given game’s result will impact the RPI ranking because movement is always relative to the teams on either side of you in the rankings.
Syracuse broke a four-game losing streak by beating Pitt at home….and fell into our Bubble graph.
If you look at both graphs, you can see the ups and downs of FSU’s week with a road loss to BC followed by a road win at VT.
ND is currently riding a four-game losing streak into regions of our graph that they don’t want to see.
BC went 1-1 this week to remain on the back side of the Bubble…with the midweek win against FSU giving a nice boost to their ranking.
The results of State’s two home games dropped them off the back side of the Bubble. A home win against a weak team doesn’t always help and home losses usually hurt.
VT’s loss at home dropped them out-of-sight low (0-1 for the week). I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see them here again this season.
Not a lot of changes since last week. But it’s beginning to look like the top 5 teams are starting to pull away from the middle of the pack.
Of those five, UNC easily has the hardest conference schedule. I’ll show how much harder next week.
Syracuse fell into the Bubble graph this week. With a conference record two games below 0.500, that’s probably about where they should be.
I had no positive expectations for State entering into the season or when ACC play started on New Year’s Eve. But I have to admit that I was disappointed with the Miami loss since a win would have given State a winning conference record for the first time in 3 seasons. But in the end, I don’t think that anyone would have expected State or BC to be sitting at 3-4 in conference after playing the top two conference schedules in the nation.
UPCOMING ACC SCHEDULE
State has two road games this week to finish its first half of the ACC schedule. Hopefully, this year’s trip to Chapel Hill will have nothing in common with last year’s visit. After the UNC game, State will have a week off to get ready for the Irish when they come to Raleigh on 2/3.
Not a lot of top-level matchups this week, but we have a few:
- Clemson at UVA
- L’ville at Miami
- UVa at Duke (defense vs offense)
- Miami at FSU
GT has already pulled off two upsets this year in Atlanta. Given the limited viewing options on Sunday evening, I’ll catch at least the first half of the Clemson/GT game to see if the Jackets have another upset in them.