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ACC Struggling in the RPI

by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #514, December 9, 2011

It's been well documented that the ACC is struggling in basketball. The league was dominated by the Big Ten in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge, they have a terrible record against top 25 competition, and only two teams have fewer than two losses.

Just based on the RPI so far, the ACC isn't going to have very many NCAA Tournament contenders when March rolls around.

The ACC in the RPI
Team Record RPI
Duke 8-1 2
Florida State 6-3 21
UNC 7-2 30
Virginia 8-1 55
NC State 5-3 56
Virginia Tech 6-3 65
Miami 5-3 82
Maryland 5-3 88
Wake Forest 6-3 102
Georgia Tech 5-4 120
Clemson 4-3 182
Boston College 2-7 274


The ACC is 4-9 against top 25 teams this year, and as a whole the league has bad losses (outside the top 100) to the following teams: Holy Cross (258), UMass (138), New Mexico (104), Penn State (136), Boston U (183), Providence (158), Arizona State (169), Tulane (222), College of Charleston (103), Coastal Carolina (139) and South Carolina (243). Florida State also lost to Harvard, though the Crimson happen to be sitting at #32 in the RPI right now.

When you've got that many losses in the non-conference portion of your schedule, that's a sign that the postseason isn't going to be very successful for the league. Any of the teams ranked outside the top 100 at this point are going to need a lot of luck to make the NCAA Tournament, and even Miami (#82) and Maryland (#88) have a lot of work to do to be included on the Bubble Watch.

The top six teams in the RPI - Duke, FSU, UNC, UVA, NC State and Virginia Tech - have the most realistic chance of making the NCAA Tournament right now. Amongst those teams, how many would you choose?

Duke: The Blue Devils are a shoe-in, obviously. They have five wins over Top 50 RPI teams.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels aren't as good as they were expected to be, but they've still defeated Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Florida State: FSU doesn't have a bad loss according to the RPI, and they do have a win over #42 UCF.

Virginia: The Hoos lost one game, to #19 TCU and former VT point guard Hank Thorns (who dropped 16 on UVA that day). They have a quality win over #42 Michigan.

NC State: The Wolfpack doesn't have a bad loss, but they also haven't beaten anyone inside the top 100.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies have two top 100 wins over Oklahoma State and St. Bonaventure, but no top 50 wins. At the same time, they don't have any bad losses. They've lost to Syracuse (#3), Minnesota (#28) and Kansas State (#64).

Right now, I think the ACC is a four-bid league. It has the potential to change to a three-bid league or a five-bid league, depending on what certain teams do. Hoping for more than five teams is wishful thinking, and in all likelihood four is the highest number of teams the league will get into the NCAA Tournament this year. There just won't be enough quality, top 50 wins available in conference play.

For example, Virginia Tech is scheduled to play the following top 50 teams: Norfolk State (#36, and unlikely to stay in the top 50), FSU (#21), UNC (#30), Duke (#2), at FSU (#21) and at Duke (#2). Throwing out Norfolk State, that's just five top 50 opponents remaining on the schedule, and with such a young team, wins over Duke and UNC are very unlikely. Perhaps a team like UVA or NC State can creep into the top 50, but that remains to be seen.

The Hokies really needed to hold on and win that road game at #28 Minnesota. In the eyes of the NCAA Tournament Selection committee, Tech isn't going to have any quality non-conference wins as usual.

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