NCAA tournament 2011: The ACC and its parade of bubble teams
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.
| February 24, 2011; 9:04 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: NCAA tournament 2011: Wright breaks hand in Georgetown loss
Next: NCAA tournament 2011: A look at the soft bubble
Posted by: IReadTheBaltimoreSunWhenIWantToReadGoodSportsWriting | February 24, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: nford2 | February 24, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: scrappledog | February 24, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: restonhoops | February 24, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | February 24, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: restonhoops | February 24, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Barno1 | February 24, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: trebor0012 | February 24, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sashab1 | February 24, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse