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Monday, March 10, 2008

Comparing the bubble teams

Hey, let's talk about some ACC teams with good problems, like, "Will we make the NCAA Tournament?"

The top three teams of the league--Carolina, Duke and Clemson--are bona fide locks. No debate about it, the ACC is guaranteed these three, and it's only a matter of seeding from this point forward.

The next three are Virginia Tech, Miami and Maryland. Back in pre-expansion days when the round-robin was in place, usually all it took was a cursory look at the conference record to get a feel for who was in and who was out. A record of 9-7 was all but a lock, and you felt pretty good sitting at 8-8.

But today's post-expansion ACC makes things a little more difficult. Teams now play unbalanced conference schedules, making it tougher to look at conference records and compare apples to apples.

Here's a breakdown of the three teams:

TeamRPIPomeroyAvgConfOppoPomRatLast 10
Virginia Tech57.8928.8637696-4

Maryland, pssh. You're dead. Yeah, 8-8 would've looked good three years ago, but with an RPI of 69, 6th-place finish in the league and a 5-5 record over the last 10 games, including a BAD loss to Virginia in the final regular season game, you can stick a fork in Maryland. I don't think even a run to the ACC finals could save this team.

Now, take a look at the average Pomeroy rating of the conference opponents for the remaining two, VaTech and Miami. You can see there's a sizeable difference between the average rating of the teams VaTech played and those Miami played. Virginia Tech played the top three teams of UNC, Duke and Clemson only once apiece. Miami played both Duke and Clemson twice, and beat them both once.

Miami's RPI is clearly stronger at 28th versus VaTech's 57. Their Last 10 records are both the same, but looking closer, Miami lost only two over the last eight; VaTech lost four.

Ironically, State could potentially spoil BOTH Miami and VaTech's NCAA hopes. Miami faces us in the first round of the ACC Tournament, and a loss in the first round with an 8-8 record could keep them out, despite their RPI. State would advance to Friday's game, and a win against VaTech would give THEM a first-round tournament loss, and really put a hurt on their NCAA bid.

By having two fewer teams in the NCAA tournament field, State could potentially end up costing the rest of the league a LOT of shared NCAA tournament revenue.


1 comment:

  1. i think Miami needs to two wins to secure a bid (one win and they are on the bubble and their fate would be a coin toss). V Tech needs one win to get a bid, i believe.

    Both teams have far exceeded expectations for the season and a NCAA bid would be a nice reward for a good effort. Once in, who knows, they could make some noise. McClinton is one of those guys who can carry a team by himself and be one of those feel good tournament stories...