Bubble Watch – 2/26/2007

Can you believe it? We only have one week left before the ACC Tournament! Where has the time gone? The season’s always so fast. You better believe Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson think so. Bet they would like some more games to help them shine up their resumes. Actually, Clemson would probably rather the season was about three weeks shorter. They were in great shape a while back, but just can’t stop losing these days.
The Tigers are still a fascinating case study. They couldn’t possibly be playing any worse and have lost 9 of 11 games. But if you ignore when the games were played and look at their overall results, they are NCAA Tournament-worthy. 19-9 with and RPI of 41. Not sensational, but those numbers will normally get you in. The Dance Card agrees, putting them at #37, about 10 spots above the cutline. But the Dance Card relies mostly on empirical numbers and power ratings. The RPI doesn’t care when games were played, but humans notice. There’s no question that Clemson’s recent struggles will make the committee round them way, way down. If they had to pick today, they’d likely be out. Unfortunately for Clemson, they don’t have an easy way to help their cause. They should beat Miami at home this week, but Miami’s so bad that win or lose, that game will hurt Clemson’s RPI (just like beating NC State actually hurt Florida State this weekend). Put that down as one of the many reasons why the RPI sucks. Clemson could win by 60 and still be damaged just for playing the game. Their only other regular season game is on the road in Blacksburg against a Hokie squad looking to finish on top of the league. Senior Day, no less. That would be a HUGE win, but I seriously doubt it will happen. No, the best bet for the Tiggers at this point is to win at least two ACC Tournament games. Do that (and beat Miami), and they’d have 22 wins. I just can’t believe an ACC team could win 22 and not get in. I could be wrong, but I don’t think a 20-win ACC squad has ever been denied.


For the other bubble teams, BC and Virginia might have cemented their bids with critical wins over other bubble teams. The Cavs’ RPI is still an unimpressive 38, but with a 10-4 league record, you’d have to think this thing is done. Granted, I’m one that keeps pointing out that the committee ignores conference records. If UVA loses their last two games (and that’s entirely possible), they be right to be a bit nervous.
Georgia Tech really has to be kicking themselves about now. They had UVA on the ropes for most of that game, but just like Clemson a month ago, the Jackets simply stopped scoring and let the Cavaliers score the last 13 points of the game. Poof. Just like that, their bubble burst. Their still alive, of course, but right now they’re probably on the outside looking in. Their final two games are at home, but they are UNC and BC. A win over the Heels might do the trick, but that won’t be easy against an angry, well-trimmed Carolina squad. The BC game will be an absolute must-have.
Florida State took the first step of their long journey, destroying a disinterested NC State. Miami is next. The Noles will win that one to, but it might be yet another Pyhrric victory, as the Canes are so bad that the RPI will punish FSU just for playing. No, FSU will have to win that one and probably two more in the ACC Tournament to get back in the discussion.
I added one more column to my table, Joe Lunardi’s current predictions. He has the ACC with six teams in right now. That’s probably right, but I really think at least one of those teams is going to step up and become the seventh. Odds are, at least two of them will play each other in the first round of the ACC Tourney. Someone has to win that game!

Team

Overall

ACC

Pomeroy

Dance Card

Sagarin

RPI

Lunardi

Postseason

Trend

North Carolina

24-5

10-4

1

3

1

3

1 Seed

1 Seed

down

Duke

22-7

8-6

9

11

10

9

5 Seed

3 Seed

up

Maryland

22-7

8-6

12

18

12

14

6 Seed

4 Seed

up

Virginia Tech

20-8

10-4

24

20

19

22

4 Seed

6 Seed

up

Boston College

19-9

10-4

32

16

25

26

6 Seed

7 Seed

up

Virginia

19-8

10-4

46

26

31

38

4 Seed

8 Seed

up

Clemson

19-9

5-9

25

37

29

41

Out

11 Seed

down

Georgia Tech

18-10

6-8

17

44

21

51

3rd Out

NIT

down

Florida St.

18-11

6-9

24

60

41

48

7th Out

NIT

up

North Carolina St.

14-13

4-10

78

113

100

116

 

NIT

down

Wake Forest

13-14

4-10

89

120

91

122

 

Wishing for a new coach?

down

Miami FL

11-17

4-10

95

136

128

149

 

South Beach

down

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