2006-07 Around the ACC: February 15th, 2007

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Two big road wins in the last two days threw the top of the ACC into a dead
heat. Virginia Tech’s win at the Dean Dome and Duke’s victory at Boston College
leave the top four teams in the ACC in a virtual lock, with BC holding down
first place by virtue of a half-game lead in the win column. This Saturday’s big
game sees ESPN’s College Gameday paying a visit to BC for a matchup between the
Eagles and the UNC Tar Heels. Four days later, on Wednesday night, there are
five league games, headlined by Boston College traveling to VT. Yes, it’s going
to be an interesting week in the ACC.

Current
ACC Standings
School Conf. Overall RPI
Rating
Boston
College
9-3 18-7 26
North
Carolina
8-3 22-4 3
Virginia
Tech
8-3 18-7 19
Virginia 8-3 17-7 37
Duke 6-6 19-7 11
Clemson 5-6 19-6 28
Maryland 5-6 19-7 32
Georgia
Tech
5-6 17-8 44
Florida
State
5-7 17-9 34
NC State 3-8 13-11 125
Miami 3-8 10-15 160
Wake
Forest
3-9 12-13 117
RPI
Ratings per RealTimeRPI.com,
as of 2/15/07, 11:55 a.m.
Recent
Games
Date Matchup Location
Sat, 02/10/07 UNC
104, Wake Forest 67
Chapel
Hill, NC
Miami
80, NC State 65
Coral
Gables, FL
Virginia
Tech 84, Virginia 57
Blacksburg,
VA
Sun, 02/11/07 Georgia Tech
65, UConn 52
Atlanta,
GA
BC
68, Florida State 67
Tallahassee,
FL
Maryland
72, Duke 60
College
Park, MD
Tues, 02/13/07 Virginia
90, Longwood 49
Charlottesville,
VA
Georgia Tech
63, Florida State 57
Tallahassee,
FL
Virginia
Tech 81, UNC 80 (OT)
Chapel
Hill, NC
Wed, 02/14/07 Wake Forest
67, Clemson 65
Winston-Salem,
NC
Maryland
85, NC State 70
Raleigh,
NC
Duke
78, Boston College 70
Chestnut
Hill, MA
Upcoming
Games
Date Matchup Location Time Television
Sat, 02/17/07 Florida State @ Virginia Charlottesville,
VA
1:00 p.m. RLF
Split
Miami @ Wake Forest Winston-Salem,
NC
1:00 p.m. RLF
Split
UNC @ Boston College Chestnut
Hill, MA
9:00 p.m. ESPN
Sun, 02/18/07 Georgia Tech @ Duke Durham,
NC
1:00 p.m. CBS
Maryland @ Clemson Clemson,
SC
4:00 p.m. RLF
Split
Virginia Tech @ NC State Raleigh,
NC
4:00 p.m. RLF
Split
Wed, 02/21/07 Boston College @ Virginia Tech Blacksburg,
VA
7:00 p.m. ESPN
Wake Forest @ Georgia Tech Atlanta,
GA
7:00 p.m. ESPNU
Virginia @ Miami Coral
Gables, FL
7:30 p.m.
Florida State @ Maryland College
Park, MD
9:00 p.m. RLF
Split
NC State @ UNC Chapel
Hill, NC
9:00 p.m. RLF
Split
Television:
RLF = Raycom Lincoln Financial; CSN = Comcast SportsNet;
CSS = Comcast Sports Southeast; FSN = Fox SportsNet;
FSNS = Fox SportsNet South; NESN = New England Sports Network;
RSN = Regional Cable Partners (check listings)

Road Wins are Huge

Before we get started with individual teams, let’s take a look at the
conference as a whole. You hear it all the time … to make the NCAA tournament,
teams have to hold serve at home and try to steal a few games on the road. And
guess what? The four teams at the top of the ACC standings just happen to have
the best road records in ACC play.

ACC
Road Records
Team Record
Boston College 4-2
Virginia Tech 4-2
UNC 3-2
UVA 3-3
Duke 3-3
NC State 2-3
Clemson 2-4
Maryland 2-4
Florida State 1-4
Miami 1-4
Georgia Tech 1-5
Wake Forest 1-5

BC, Virginia Tech, UNC and UVA have gotten it done on the road this year.
That’s the main reason they are at the top of the ACC standings. Teams like
Georgia Tech, Florida State and Maryland are in the lower-middle pack of the ACC
standings. It’s not coincidence that those three teams have just one road win
in the ACC.

Georgia Tech is a perfect example. They have just one loss at home on the
season, so they have taken care of the “holding serve at home” part. They
just need to win a couple on the road. Their only two road games remaining are
at Duke and UVA. At home, they’ve got UNC and BC. They might have played their
way into a hole early in the season, but stealing one more on the road could get
them off the bubble.

Road wins are also big for RPI purposes. Road wins count as 1.4 wins in the
RPI formula, so winning at then-#2 in the RPI UNC was huge for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech shot up from #33 in the RPI to #20 after the victory.

As the season winds down, and you’re checking ACC scores, pay special
attention to the teams who win on the road. By doing so, they are going
a long way towards punching their ticket to the Big Dance.

ACC Breaks Into Three Pieces

At this point in the season, the ACC has three different parts. The top four
teams in the conference have broken away and find themselves a full three games
ahead of 5th place and below in the loss column. These four teams, Boston
College, Virginia Tech, UNC and UVA, will fight it out for the top seed in the
ACC tournament.

Right now, UVA is at a big disadvantage. They are 0-3 against BC, UNC and VT
this year, with just one game against Tech remaining. The Hokies are 3-1 against
their main competition at the top, with two wins over UNC, one win over UVA and
a loss to BC. The Tar Heels are 1-2, with a win over UVA and two losses to VT.
BC has defeated UVA and Tech and plays UNC this weekend.

Behind the top four teams, there are five schools that still have a shot at
an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida
State and Maryland still have a chance to break even in conference play, and
that would likely be enough to get them in the Big Dance.

At the bottom of the conference, NC State, Miami and Wake Forest have no
chance of making the NCAA tournament unless they win the ACC Tournament in
Tampa.



A Look Around the League…


Boston College (18-7, 9-3, RPI #26)

Over the weekend, Boston College traveled to Tallahassee and picked up a huge
68-67 win on the Seminoles’ home court. BC has defeated FSU twice this season
by a combined four points. The Eagles then had a big home game against the Duke
Blue Devils on Wednesday night, but Duke dominated most of the game, winning 78-70.

Jared Dudley was making a strong push for ACC Player of the Year until his
performance Wednesday night. He scored just 11 points, had only four rebounds
and he turned the ball over four times. He took only five shots in 39 minutes.
Duke did a great job of denying him the basketball.

The loss to Duke dropped BC to 9-3 in the ACC. There are now four teams
tied in the loss column, and the race to see who gets the #1 seed in the ACC
should be fun. Out of the four teams, BC has the toughest schedule. They have
home games against UNC and Clemson, and road trips to Virginia Tech and Georgia
Tech. Their next two games are UNC and Virginia Tech, and those games will go a
long way in shaking out the pecking order of the top four teams.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Virginia Tech (18-7, 8-3, RPI #19)

Last week, Virginia Tech was trying to find themselves. This week, they are
ESPN media darlings once again. After an 84-57 drubbing of in-state rival UVA on
Saturday, the Hokies completed the season sweep of UNC by beating the Tar Heels
81-80 in overtime on Tuesday.

Everyone has been talking about Zabian Dowdell’s 33-point performance
against UNC, but Deron Washington’s performance as of late has been equally
impressive. He has averaged 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds over his last six
games. He has turned in back-to-back double-doubles in the wins over the Hoos
and Heels. He has raised the level of his play by several notches, and that’s
very important for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech has two more big games in the next week. They return to North
Carolina to face NC State on Sunday and then host Boston College on ESPN next
Wednesday.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


North Carolina (22-4, 8-3, RPI #3)

The Tar Heels are still the most talented team in the ACC, and if they win
out they’ll be the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament, assuming the Hokies don’t
win out. The Heels beat Wake Forest 104-67 over the weekend before losing at home to
Virginia Tech 81-80 in overtime.

UNC will definitely make the NCAA tournament. From this point on, they are
playing for seeding. With their loss to Virginia Tech last night, they may have
knocked themselves out of a #1 seed for the time being. The Tar Heels definitely
have time to make up for it, however.

UNC can’t feel sorry for themselves after losing twice to Tech. They travel
to Chestnut Hill on Saturday to take on Boston College, the top team in the
conference.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Lock


Virginia (17-7, 8-3, RPI #37)

Virginia lost on the road to Virginia Tech 84-57 on Saturday. They returned
home to blow out overmatched Longwood 90-49 on Tuesday night. The Cavaliers still
aren’t a lock for the NCAA tournament, but with their remaining schedule, go
ahead and pencil them in.

UVA plays three teams in the RPI Top 50 down the stretch. All three of those
games, against FSU, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, will be played in
Charlottesville. By the time the regular season is done, the Hoos will have faced UNC, Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson
just once each. The three teams at the bottom, NC State, Miami and Wake Forest,
appear twice on UVA’s schedule.

Despite their losses to Appalachian State and Utah in Puerto Rico earlier in
the season, the Cavaliers are in good shape for an NCAA berth.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Duke (19-7, 6-6, RPI #11)

After playing poorly at Maryland over the weekend and falling 72-60, the Blue
Devils had lost four games in a row. Under Coach K, they had never lost five in
a row, and they took their losing streak into Chestnut Hill last night to play
Boston College. Duke played perhaps their best game of the season, winning 78-70
in a game they desperately needed.

A big reason for the win was the play of Greg Paulus, who has been criticized
for his play for much of the season. Paulus scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting,
dished out seven assists and had three steals

Duke has a huge game this weekend in Cameron Indoor Stadium. They will face a
Georgia Tech team that has played good basketball of late. The Yellow Jackets
beat Duke 74-63 earlier in the season in Atlanta. They know that a win at Duke
will greatly add to their NCAA tournament resume. It should be a good one in
Durham.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Clemson (19-6, 5-6, RPI #28)

The Clemson Tigers took a big step back in their quest for an NCAA tournament
bid when they lost on the road to Wake Forest 67-65 on Wednesday night. The
Tigers have now lost six of their last eight games and four of their last five.
They started the season 17-0.

The loss to Wake was devastating because of Clemson’s upcoming schedule.
Four of their last five games are against Maryland, Duke, Boston College and
Virginia Tech, all NCAA tournament contenders. Clemson needs to beat Miami and split the four games with their opponents from the
upper tier of the conference to finish 8-8 in the ACC, improving their chances
at an NCAA bid. To be comfortable, the Tigers will need to do even more and
finish 9-7 in the conference. That’s going to be tough to do, because it means
winning four of their last five.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Out


Maryland (19-7, 5-6, RPI #32)

It was a big week for the Maryland basketball team. Over the weekend, the
Terps beat Duke 72-60 in College Park and blew out NC State on the road on
Wednesday 85-70. Those two wins get Maryland squarely back in the race for the
NCAA tournament.

The Terrapins have won a lot of games this year. Now their goal is to win
three of their last five games of the season. That would give them 22 overall
wins and eight ACC wins, and that should put them in the NCAA tournament. Four
of those games come against other NCAA tournament contenders. They play at
Clemson and Duke, and host Florida State and UNC. They close the season at home
against NC State.

Winning one of their road tests and taking taking two of three at home will
do the trick. The Terps play at Clemson on Sunday and host Florida State next
Wednesday.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Georgia Tech (17-8, 5-6, RPI #44)

Georgia Tech has won four games in a row and has put itself back in the
hunt for the NCAA tournament. The Jackets defeated beat UConn 65-52 last weekend in the
Georgia Dome, and then knocked off Florida State 63-57 at home.

Georgia Tech has proven they can win their home games. They are now 14-1 at
home this season, with their lone loss coming to Virginia Tech. However, the
Yellow Jackets need to steal one or two on the road down the stretch to have a
chance. They are just 1-6 on the road this season.

Their next game is a road trip to Duke, and they follow that up by hosting
Wake Forest. Down the stretch they play at Virginia and host UNC and Boston
College.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Out


Florida State (17-9, 5-7, RPI #34)

Last week, things were looking good for Florida State. They were 5-4 in ACC
play after starting 0-3. They were starting to play very well. Then starting
point guard Toney Douglas broke his right hand, and he’s expected to miss the
remainder of the regular season. The Seminoles have now lost three in a row,
their latest two losses coming to Boston College and Georgia Tech by a
total of seven points.

Things are looking bleak for Florida State at this point. They play two
consecutive road games against Virginia and Maryland. Their last two games are
against NC State at home, and at Miami. The Seminoles should win their last two, and if
they can split the two games against UVA and Maryland, they still have a chance.

If Douglas can return for the ACC Tournament, FSU has a chance to win a
couple of games in Tampa to strengthen their resume as well. Right now, things
aren’t looking good.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Out


NC State (13-11, 3-8, RPI #125)

After winning back-to-back games against Virginia Tech and UNC, the Wolfpack
are in a slump. They have lost three in a row, including consecutive 15-point
losses to Miami and Maryland. A depth-shy team, NC State appears to be wearing
down, and starting center Ben McCauley even admitted as such in the newspapers
following last night’s loss to Maryland.

NC State has no chance to make the NCAA tournament unless they win the ACC
tournament. Four of their last five games are against Virginia Tech, UNC,
Florida State and Maryland, all NCAA tournament contenders. Their next two are
against VT and UNC, and the Wolfpack will try to beat them back-to-back for the
second time this season.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Definitely Out, NIT Possible


Miami (10-15, 3-8, RPI #160)

After losing seven straight games, Miami knocked off NC State 80-65 at the
BankUnited Center in Coral Gables on Saturday. They have a chance at a winning
streak when they travel to Wake Forest on Saturday.

All the Hurricanes are playing for is pride. Four of their last five games
come against NCAA tournament contenders from the ACC. The Hurricanes don’t have
the depth or experience to compete with those teams right now

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Definitely Out, No Postseason


Wake Forest (12-13, 3-9, RPI #117)

Wake Forest was blown out by UNC 104-67 on Saturday but knocked off Clemson
67-65 in an upset on Wednesday night. If the Demon Deacons defeat Miami at home
this weekend, they will have won three of their last four games.

An NCAA tournament berth is out of the question for Wake Forest, but they
still have an outside shot at an NIT bid. Last season, Skip Prosser’s team
started playing well at the end of last season, and despite finishing last in
the ACC at the end of the regular season, they made the NIT. They’ll be looking
to do the same this year.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Definitely Out, NIT Possible

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