Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

The ACC Exposed

As basically a Mid-Major. You often hear of the term “signature win” in college hoops, a win over a ranked team that announces that a team is good enough to qualify for the NCAA. St. John’s drubbing of Duke was just the just the opposite, a signal that Dook, and by extension the ACC, is rather overrated.

Ordinarily, it’s dangerous to read too much into any one basketball game. Not in this case though. St. John’s is a middling Big East outfit but based upon RPI (rank: 28), they are still the best team Duke has played so far this year. And Duke, ranked number 3 in the country in the AP poll at the time, was destroyed.

So yeah, maybe Duke isn’t the third best team in the country. Actually, there was good reason to think they weren’t that even before Sunday. Who exactly did Duke beat this season to earn that number three ranking? Based upon RPI, they’re best win is at home over Boston College (RPI: 34). Don’t believe in RPI and prefer the polls? OK, Dook has played exactly two currently (as of Monday morning, just before the weekly poll update) nationally ranked teams, topping #25 Michigan State and losing to #22 Florida State. Not exactly an endorsement.

This year, much of the ACC’s claims of quality are derived from Duke’s quality as the conference overall only ranks 5th in RPI. So when Duke lost big in NYC, with it went some of Florida State’s claim on a ticket to the Big Dance. After all, their biggest achievement was a win over Duke.

Still, there are 37 a large bid, of which only 10 or so will go to the Big East. So there are bids to be had. Hard to see the ACC getting more than four — if the season ended now, Duke, UNC, Boston College and maybe Florida State — would make it. Miami, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Maryland all came into Sunday’s play with RPIs of between 65 and 78. That sort of RPI pretty much amounts to “win the ACC tourney or go the NITs.” So figure 10 or 11 conference wins as the minimum need to make the show.

5 Responses to “The ACC Exposed”

  • Jan
    31
    2011

    You need to look no further than the amazingly weak array of coaches the ACC has been saddled with for most of this decade. ACC fans like to blame the NBA for the down years, as if other conferences do not face the same issue.

  • Jan
    31
    2011

    I think Florida State will have a tough time getting in. They need to start scoring more than 45 points a game to get the Big Dance interested. Period.

  • Jan
    31
    2011

    Could be two ACC teams in the (expanded) tournament. And I almost feel bad for Sidney Lowe, because they may carry the State players out of Cameron on their shields.

  • Jan
    31
    2011

    The conference with the defending national champion is:

    a. Big East
    b. Big Ten
    c. SEC
    d. ACC

    The conference with the previous year’s national champion is:

    a. Big East
    b. Big Ten
    c. SEC
    d. ACC

    The conference with five of the past ten national champions is:

    a. Big East
    b. Big Ten
    c. SEC
    d. ACC

    The only conference from which three different teams have won national championships in the past ten years is:

    a. Big East
    b. Big Ten
    c. SEC
    d. ACC

    No argument that THIS year’s ACC is down – watching the Clempshun-F$U game was an exercise in self-flagellation – and there will likely be several new coaches in place next year as well (Raleigh, South Beach, maybe Atlanta if Wreck boosters get fed up enough to swallow Hewitt’s insane buyout clause).

  • Feb
    01
    2011

    Rick — Watchability isn’t a requirement to get into the NCAA field. If it were, the Big 10 would be in serious trouble… FSU is essentially Clemson but a little better in conference. FSU played four games against good opponents out of conference, losing three (Ohio State, Butler, Florida) but beating Baylor (RPI: 86). They also have a horrid loss at Auburn (RPI: 285). Nothing there that gets them in. But in conference, they largely have taken of business, going 5-2. They have five games left against the weakest ACC teams (Wake, GT, Virginia, N.C. State), plus a game at home against Miami, at Maryland and home-and-home with UNC. Easy to see them with 10 to 12 wins in conference.

    musicmax — The ACC in recent years is two elite programs that happen to be in a conference with 10 other schools that are the mid-major level. The last ACC team besides UNC and Duke to get to the Sweet 16 was Boston College in 2006, in their first year in the conference.

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