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Posted at 9:04 AM ET, 02/24/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: The ACC and its parade of bubble teams

By Eric Prisbell

Here is the new official logo of this season's ACC tournament. The ACC is shaping up to be the nation's ultimate bubble league.

All along I felt the league's mediocrity this season would not be seen in the number of NCAA tournament bids it received. While it could receive as few as two, it more than likely will see four or five of its teams reach the NCAA tournament. Instead, I felt you'd see the issue of the ACC's mediocrity play out in the seeding. Duke is in line for a No. 1 seed, and North Carolina is moving toward a top four seed. But after that, the ACC teams that reach the NCAA tournament are looking at double-digit seeds. And there is a possibility that the ACC could turn Dayton almost into Greensboro -- with an ACC team in two of the play-in games (not playing each other, of course).

You have five ACC teams sitting squarely on the bubble now. Wins over one another will keep them alive in the bubble discussion, but a win over one of the only two truly quality teams in the league -- Duke and North Carolina -- is what is needed to impress the selection committee. Then again, just winning league games this season -- any league games -- might be enough to sneak in because the bubble is extremely soft, and getting softer by the day. It is difficult to keep a lot of the bubble teams out, even though few are deserving. You've got to find 37 at-large teams somewhere.

Florida State clearly is not the same team without Chris Singleton -- no one expected it would be -- and the selection committee will need to take that into account. The Seminoles will need to demonstrate they can beat at least some middling ACC competition (Wake Forest doesn't count).

Don't count out Maryland, which remains in the hunt because it beats the teams it is supposed to beat and does not have a bad loss this season. If Maryland had won just one of those high-profile non-league games, it would be in pretty good shape right now. Instead, Saturday's Sunday's game at North Carolina takes on great importance. A quality victory like that is the biggest thing Maryland is missing on its resume. A win over FSU is good, but, again, the Seminoles are not the same team without Singleton. Maryland's resume remains, in a word, bland. But bland may ultimately be enough in a season in which many bubble teams possess resumes that are downright ugly.

Boston College has lost six of eight games in a league that no one should confuse with the Big East. The Eagles may need to win their final three. The game at Virginia Tech on Tuesday may be a bubble-buster.

Virginia Tech made life difficult by getting swept by Virginia. The Hokies, if they cannot beat Duke on Saturday, need to beat BC or Clemson and then do some work in the ACC tournament. They have three sub-140 RPI losses.

Clemson is also still alive. Perhaps the March 5 game against Virginia Tech will be another bubble-buster. If any of these teams can beat Duke, that will go a long way toward putting them in. Good luck with that.

The selection committee does not take a certain amount of teams from a specific conference. It really doesn't. It compares each team's resume to that of all other teams across the country. That may or may not help teams hoping to emerge from the mediocre middle of the ACC.

By Eric Prisbell  | February 24, 2011; 9:04 AM ET
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Next: NCAA tournament 2011: A look at the soft bubble


Funny how halfway through the season the "Hokie" fans were bragging about how they were on the upswing and the Terps were headed towards the NIT.

While I am not anywhere near satisfied with this season, this is a DOWN year for the Terps and they STILL might make the tournament.

This is VaTech's best team in a while and little Seth Greenberg will have to do is March crybaby session!!!

Hey Seth maybe they can expand the tournament to 96 teams and than MAYBE you guys will qualify for the postseason!!!

Posted by: IReadTheBaltimoreSunWhenIWantToReadGoodSportsWriting | February 24, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Prisbell you are hilarious man I cannot stop laughing about that bubble picture! Being the ACC's logo god that is go ingeniously funny!


You are not funny, not respected, and a tremendous tool. Please do everyone a favor and leave the Post. Thanks.

Posted by: nford2 | February 24, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Prisbell, can you explain something minor to me? Why in blogs like these, when you make a correction, must the old text remain in strikethru font? Why when you corrected Saturday to Sunday is it considered important in these formats to keep the old word there so we can see the correction? Why not just replace? I've noticed this in a ton of blogs lately and frankly I find it kind of silly.

Posted by: scrappledog | February 24, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Only North Carolina and Duke deserve bids this year. The CAA is actually a better league at the top with GMU, ODU, and VCU.. ACC needs to clean house and bring in a fresh crop of coaches in places like MD, GaTech, Wake, NC State. You look at the strength of the Big East that has easily 8-12 strong teams down to teams like St. Johns, Cinn, WVU and MU and it's crazy. The better coaches and programs are in the big east right now, period.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 24, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Prisbell, can you explain something minor to me? Why in blogs like these, when you make a correction, must the old text remain in strikethru font? Why when you corrected Saturday to Sunday is it considered important in these formats to keep the old word there so we can see the correction? Why not just replace? I've noticed this in a ton of blogs lately and frankly I find it kind of silly.

Posted by: scrappledog

It's so readers can see that a correction has been made. It's often something minor, but sometimes not, and readers have the right to see that something was published incorrectly. Also, blog comments may have been made about it and people who read it after the correction might not understand what people are referring to if the mistake was simply replaced.

Also, Maryland is an exceedingly mediocre basketball team.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 24, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

By my count MD has beaten one team that will be in the tourney this year and that's Florida State who was without their dominate player. FSU may fade down the stretch and play themselves out of the tourney which would leave MD with exactly zero wins over tournament bound teams

Posted by: restonhoops | February 24, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

ah, restonhoops, the guy who DIDN'T go to Maryland, has no connection to the university whatsoever other than once living in the same state, who has been railing against Gary Williams for as long as these blogs have been around on the WaPo website. Every year he is proven to be an utter moron, yet every year he keeps coming back.

Gary Williams is the reigning ACC Coach of the Year. He has taken the Terps to 14 NCAA appearances in the last 17 years. He has won 4 ACC championships (including an ACC tourney), has gone to 7 sweet 16s, 2 final fours, and won the national championship. Yet this loser who didn't even go to Maryland comes on these blogs week after week, year after year, demanding the school fire the man who resurrected the bball program from the ashes.

Restonhoops, you are a tool.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 24, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The ACC's foray into BCS superconference status has destroyed the country's best basketball league. The effort to become a contender in football and, secondarily, basketball has failed; they aren't among the best conferences in either, anymore. In order to compete, they'll have to become mediocre in academics. Nice going, guys.

Posted by: trebor0012 | February 24, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

You guys all need to chill out a little. It is a GOOD thing that Maryland has become a stronger academic university than back when I was admitted. It is also a GOOD thing that we still have GW coaching because he is a hell of a coach. Finally, it is also a GOOD thing that there are a large number of Gomers on these blogs who don't give the Terps a chance; better to sneak up on them during the NCAA tourney.

Posted by: sashab1 | February 24, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

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