Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Our Time Is Now: ACC Breakdown and pre-Tournament Forecasting

A few nights ago, I broke down the Big East and predicted what each non-lock Big East team still vying for an at-large bid needed to do in order to dance in two weeks. Today, it’s the ACC’s turn.

To date, I posit that no less than five ACC teams have punched their ticket for The Big Dance and no more than three teams will be considered outside of the mix unless they win the automatic bid at the ACC Tournament in Atlanta. That leaves four teams vying for at-large bids. This piece takes a look at each of these teams’ key wins, projects their remaining regular season games, and determines what work needs to be done. To make the projected record somewhat objective, I am once again using KenPom.com’s projected record, which is based on cumulative probabilities of winning each game and may not equal the individual game predictions.

IN: UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson
OUT: NC State, Virginia, Georgia Tech
NOT YET IN: Boston College, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Miami-FL

Boston College
20-9 (8-6)
Key Wins: @ UNC, v. Duke, UAB (N), v. Florida State, @ Maryland, v. Providence
Remaining Games: @ NC State (L), v. Georgia Tech (W)
Projected Record: 21-10 (9-7)
Record v. ACC Top 5: 3-3

Maryland 18-10 (7-7)
Key Wins: v. UNC, Michigan State (N), Miami-FL (S), v. Virginia Tech, v. Michigan, v. Vermont
Remaining Games: v. Wake Forest (L), @ Virginia (W)
Projected Record: 19-11 (8-8)
Record v. ACC Top 5: 1-6

Virginia Tech 17-11 (7-7)
Key Wins: @ Wake Forest, Clemson (AS), @ Miami-FL, Boston College (S)
Remaining Games: v. UNC (L), @ Florida State (L)
Projected Record: 17-13 (7-9)
Record v. ACC Top 5: 3-5

Miami 17-10 (6-8)
Key Wins: v. Wake Forest, Florida State (S), Boston College (2), Maryland (S)
Remaining Games: @ Georgia Tech (W), v. NC State (W)
Projected Record: 19-10 (8-8)
Record v. ACC Top 5: 4-5

As a result of this exercise, Boston College finishes 9-7, which ties them with Clemson; however, Clemson wins the head-to-head tie-breaker. That said, BC earns the 6th seed. Maryland takes the tie-breaker for 7th place over Miami by virtue of their win over North Carolina. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech would finish 7-9 (even though I think they will split their last two) and would face Miami in the 8/9 clash.


So, what does that leave each team to do secure an at-large bid?

Boston College: Nothing (so long as they have 9 conference wins given their high number of quality wins)

Maryland: Win at least 1 game (likely versus NC State) and compete admirably against the #2 seed (likely Duke)

Miami: Win at least 1 game (likely versus Virginia Tech) and play like they belong in the NCAA Tournament against UNC

Virginia Tech: Win 1 game (likely versus Miami) and hope that no bids are stolen in the Horizon League, Conference USA, the Mountain West, the A-10 and the West Coast Conference. Also, Tech would definitely be in the NCAA Tournament with 2 wins (likely versus Miami and UNC).

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