Photo from News & Observer
Media types love to drone on about how hard it is to win on the road. Usually it comes across to me as just something to fill the air waves, but it was sure true this week in the ACC:
- FSU over UNC
- GT over Miami
- WF over SYR
- State over Duke
In contrast to these big upsets at home, ND goes into the Carrier Dome down two starters and beats SYR. I’m not sure if I need to think more of ND or less of SYR. As usual, time will tell.
RPI SUMMARY TABLE
I found it interesting that L’ville has no Top 100 wins so far this year…and is the only ACC team currently with that “distinction”.
Four ACC teams currently in the RPI Top 10 is nothing to sneeze at. Unsurprisingly, four of the ACC teams (including State) also have some of the hardest conference schedules to start off the New Year.
With the wide variation in schedule strengths, (both OOC and in-conference), it’s often worthwhile to take a closer look at who a given team has actually played and who they’ve defeated. If you go to the ESPN link (just below the RPI Summary Table), each team’s name is a hyperlink to their respective pages where their season to date is broken down. One of the most useful areas on this page is that ESPN’s summarizes the results of the last 12 games and all of the remaining games on their schedule. For instance, State’s first five ACC games are all against teams well on their way to the NCAAT:
This type of chronological breakdown along with the opponents RPI Ranking helps us gage how a team is playing over a given stretch of time…as well as highlighting particularly hard or easy stretches of their schedule. As I mentioned last week, State’s roughest stretch may well be the first five games of the ACC season.
RPI TREND GRAPHS
Both Clemson and UVA went 2-0 last week and both made dramatic improvements in their RPI Ranking. Likewise, SYR’s 0-2 week is hard to miss.
But wins and losses don’t always show up like you would expect. For instance, UNC went 0-2 last week, but their mid-week loss to FSU actually resulted in a small increase in RPI Ranking and the butt-kicking by UVA was a pretty small drop. Without doing the math, you can see that road losses, especially to good teams, don’t always have a dramatic effect on RPI Ranking.
If you look at both trend graphs, you can easily see the effect of ND’s 2-0 week and that ND has moved into our “IN” category.
The Bubble is really depleted this week. I’m probably the only person classifying BC anywhere near the NCAAT. But I’ll give their win over Duke more credit than it probably deserves and put them there this week.
It’s obviously really early in the season, but the standings needed to be included so that I could point out that all of NC schools are tied at 1-2.
It’s also worth mentioning that only Pitt didn’t get at least one win out of the first three games of the conference schedule.
Other than UVA, I doubt that anyone would have guessed any of the other three teams that are currently in the top four places.
UPCOMING ACC SCHEDULE
Overall, not a lot of can’t miss games this week.
SYR went 0-2 last week and gets to follow that up with a challenging week on the road against UVA and FSU. I haven’t seen the Orange play this year, but you don’t need any first-hand knowledge of their team to know that they are going to have to pick the pace up if they don’t want a four-game losing streak.
State’s games are spot-lighted this week by playing on the off-nights (and thankfully not on Monday).
Duke has already lost on the road to BC and State. They get two more chances this week to see if they can win on the road.