2006-07 Around the ACC: February 22nd, 2007

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With nine teams in the top 48 of the RPI ratings, pundits around the country
are wondering if the ACC will get seven, eight, or even nine teams into the NCAA
tournament. TSL has their own ideas on that topic, and we give our thoughts on
what teams from the conference will and won’t be dancing at season’s end in this
week’s “Around the ACC.” This week’s ACC quiz: UNC has the most
overall wins in the conference with 24, but which team has the second-most wins
overall? The answer will surprise you.

Current
ACC Standings
School Conf. Overall RPI
Rating
North Carolina 10-3 24-4 2
Virginia Tech 9-4 19-8 23
Virginia 9-4 18-8 45
Boston College 9-5 18-9 29
Maryland 7-6 21-7 18
Duke 7-6 20-7 11
Georgia Tech 6-7 18-9 48
Clemson 5-7 19-7 31
Florida State 5-9 17-11 42
NC State 4-9 14-12 117
Miami 4-9 11-16 152
Wake Forest 4-10 13-14 121
RPI
Ratings per RealTimeRPI.com,
as of 2/22/07, 2:45 p.m.

There you have the answer to our quiz: The hard-charging Maryland Terrapins,
with 21 victories, have the second-highest overall win total, behind the Heels.

Recent
Games
Date Matchup Location
Sat, 02/17/07 Virginia
73, FSU 70
Charlottesville,
VA
Wake Forest
74, Miami 69
Winston-Salem,
NC
UNC
77, Boston College 72
Chestnut
Hill, MA
Sun, 02/18/07 Duke
71, Georgia Tech 62
Durham,
NC
Maryland
82, Clemson 66
Clemson,
SC
NC
State 81, VT 56
Raleigh,
NC
Wed, 02/21/07 VT
79, Boston College 62
Blacksburg,
VA
Georgia
Tech 75, Wake Forest 61
Atlanta,
GA
Miami
68, Virginia 60
Coral
Gables, FL
Maryland
73, FSU 55
College
Park, MD
UNC
83, NC State 64
Chapel
Hill, NC
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)

Upcoming
Games
Date Matchup Location Time Television
Thurs, 02/22/07 Duke @ Clemson Clemson,
SC
9:00 p.m. ESPN
Sat, 02/24/07 Miami @ Virginia Tech Blacksburg,
VA
12:00 p.m. RSN
Clemson @ Boston College Chestnut
Hill, MA
1:00 p.m. RLF
Split
NC State @ Florida State Tallahassee,
FL
1:00 p.m. RLF
Split
Georgia Tech @ Virginia Charlottesville,
VA
3:30 p.m. ABC
Sun, 02/25/07 Duke @ St. John’s New
York, NY
2:00 p.m. CBS
North Carolina @ Maryland College
Park, MD
5:30 p.m. FSN
Wed, 02/28/07 Miami @ Clemson Clemson,
SC
7:30 p.m.
Maryland @ Duke Durham,
NC
9:00 p.m. ESPN
Wake Forest @ NC State Raleigh,
NC
9:00 p.m. ESPNU
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)

Four Becomes Three

Last week, four teams were battling it out for the top seed in the ACC
tournament. A week later, just three teams remain in that battle. Boston College
has lost three games in a row and has dropped to 9-5 in ACC play. They are two
games back in the loss column of conference leading UNC, and the Tar Heels hold
the tiebreaker. Losses in the past week to UNC and Virginia Tech knocked the
Eagles out of the race.

As it stands, only UNC, Virginia Tech and Virginia stand a chance to claim
the #1 seed for the ACC tournament. Virginia Tech has the best chance to
challenge UNC because they hold the tiebreaker over the Tar Heels. UNC holds the
tiebreaker over UVA, and the teams won’t meet again in the regular season.

Next Thursday’s matchup between Virginia Tech and Virginia in Charlottesville
could go a long way in shaking out the final standings at the top of the ACC.



A Look Around the League…


North Carolina (24-4, 10-3, #2 RPI)

UNC responded to their home loss to Virginia Tech by winning two big games
this past week. They knocked off Boston College on the road 77-72 on Saturday
and got their revenge for an earlier loss to NC State by knocking off the
Wolfpack 83-64 on Wednesday night.

With Virginia’ loss to Miami on Wednesday, North Carolina moves into sole
possession of first place in the ACC. They’ve easily been the class of the ACC
this season, except when they’ve played Virginia Tech.

UNC is on top now, but they have a tough schedule down the stretch. They
travel to Maryland and Georgia Tech, arguably the hottest teams in the
conference, in back-to-back road games. Their final game is at home against
Duke. UNC hasn’t locked up the #1 seed in the ACC tournament quite yet.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Lock


Virginia Tech (19-8, 9-4, RPI #23)

Virginia Tech got bombed on the road 81-56 last Sunday by an NC State team
the Hokies don’t match up well against. Tech responded by returning home and
blowing out Boston College 79-62 in a game that was not as close as the final
score indicated. BC is effectively knocked out of the race for the #1 seed in
the ACC tournament.

Zabian Dowdell continues to make his case for first team All-ACC. He had 23
points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and zero turnovers against
the Eagles. And if you think A.D. Vassallo is developing into one of the top
three-point shooters around, you’re correct. Vassallo is 45.8% from three-point
range on the season, and an even more impressive 52.8% in ACC play.

The Hokies are in good shape, and the only way they stand a chance to not
make the NCAA tournament at this point is to lose their last three regular
season games and their first game in the ACC tournament. With two of their last
three games coming at home against Miami and Clemson, and a winnable road game
at UVA, it looks like Tech will be dancing for the first time since 1996.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Virginia (18-8, 9-4, #45 RPI)

Virginia defeated struggling Florida State 73-70 in Charlottesville over the
weekend but was upset by Miami on the road 68-60 on Wednesday night. It was just
their second loss since a January 13 setback at Boston College.

Virginia’s guards have been somewhat frustrated recently. Sean Singletary was
just 1-of-6 from three-point range against Miami, and J.R. Reynolds was held to
just seven shot attempts. Singletary was just 6-of-21 from the field in the
previous game against FSU, and scored just 13 points against Virginia Tech a
week earlier. Once the hottest backcourt combo in the conference, Singletary and
Reynolds have cooled off.

Virginia needs one more win to get to 10 wins in ACC play, and that should
sew up an NCAA tournament berth. They have back-to-back home games with Georgia
Tech and Virginia Tech and a road game at Wake Forest to end their season.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Boston College (18-9, 9-5, #29 RPI)

Boston College is reeling. The Eagles recently lost two home games in a row
against Duke and UNC, and then got crushed on Wednesday night in Blacksburg.
Once holding the top spot in the ACC standings, BC is now fighting to hold onto
their spot in the top four of the ACC. If Duke defeats Clemson tonight, they
will be just one game behind the Eagles in the standings, and in possession of
the tiebreaker.

Boston College only has two regular season games left, and they desperately
need to win one of them. They are no longer a lock for the NCAA tournament,
although they still possess a solid resume. They play Clemson at home on
February 24 and travel to Georgia Tech on March 4. The Eagles need to beat
Clemson at home, because a road win at Georgia Tech will be hard to come by.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Maryland (21-7, 7-6, #18 RPI)

The Maryland Terrapins have won four games in a row and five of their last
six. Once thought to be an NIT team, the Terps have definitely gotten themselves
back into the NCAA tournament race. They won at Clemson 82-66 last weekend and
whipped FSU 73-55 on Wednesday night.

Maryland’s freshman guard Greivis Vasquez is developing into a very solid ACC
point guard, and D.J. Strawberry is showing outstanding senior leadership. Last
week, Vasquez was named ACC Rookie of the Week, and Strawberry was ACC Player of
the Week.

Maryland needs one more win to clinch a .500 mark in the ACC, and with their
overall record, that will be enough to get them into the NCAA tournament. The
Terps have home games with UNC and NC State remaining, as well as a road game at
Duke.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Duke (20-7, 7-6, #11 RPI)

After soundly whipping BC in Boston last week, Duke followed that up with
another impressive win over the weekend. The Blue Devils knocked off Georgia
Tech 71-62 in Durham on Sunday. They have now won two in a row after dropping
four straight ACC games.

Duke has ACC road games at Clemson and UNC remaining, as well as a home date
with the Maryland Terrapins. They also have a road game at St. John’s sandwiched
in between. If the Blue Devils can get to .500 in ACC, they’ll be a lock for the
NCAA tournament.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: In


Georgia Tech (18-9, 6-7, #48 RPI)

Georgia Tech is one of the hottest teams in the ACC, winning five of their
last six games. The Yellow Jackets were defeated 71-62 at Duke over the weekend
but rallied for a 75-61 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Wednesday
night in Atlanta. Things will be very interesting for GT down the stretch. If
they can get to .500 in ACC play, they can make the NCAA tournament.

The Jackets have a road game at UVA this Saturday, and they have won just one
road game all season. They follow that up with home games against UNC and Boston
College. Georgia Tech has lost just one home game this year, to Virginia Tech
back in January. Winning two of their last three in the regular season will give
them a chance to make the Big Dance.

Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, they may have dug themselves into too
deep a hole earlier in the season.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Out


Clemson (19-7, 5-7, #31 RPI)

The Clemson Tigers have almost played their way out of the NCAA tournament.
The Tigers have lost five of their last six games and seven of their last nine.
They started the season 17-0 and looked like an NCAA tournament team in early
January. A closer look reveals that Clemson has some major deficiencies as a
team, and no one should be surprised by their recent collapse.

In ACC games only, Clemson is ninth is scoring offense (69.9 points), last in
free throw percentage (59.2%), eighth in field goal percentage (45.2%), last in
field goal percentage defense (48.9%) and last in three-point percentage (32%).
They are also 11th in rebounding margin (-5.1), just 0.1 ahead of dead-last NC
State.

The Tigers simply aren’t an NCAA tournament basketball team. Unfortunately
for them, the tough part of their schedule is coming up. They host Duke tonight
and still have road games at Boston College and Virginia Tech.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Out


Florida State (17-11, 5-9, #42 RPI)

Florida State had all the makings of an NCAA tournament team, until point
guard Toney Douglas broke his hand. He’ll miss the rest of the regular season,
though he could possibly be back for the ACC tournament. Without him, Florida
State has lost five games in a row.

The Seminoles’ latest losses came at Virginia 73-70, and at Maryland 73-55.
Their final two games of the regular season, home against NC State and at Miami,
are winnable. After that, they need to hope for the return of Toney Douglas for
the ACC tournament so they can make a run, otherwise they’ll be back in the NIT.

TSL NCAA Tournament Prediction: Out


NC State (14-12, 4-9, #117 RPI)

After thoroughly whipping Virginia Tech 81-56 over the weekend, NC State was
defeated at North Carolina 83-64 on Wednesday night. Three of their four ACC
wins this year have come against Virginia Tech and UNC, the top two teams in the
conference at this point.

The Wolfpack have no chance at an NCAA tournament berth unless they make a
run in the ACC tournament in March, and with their lack of depth, that’s
unlikely to happen. The Wolfpack face road tests against Florida State and
Maryland, and a home game against Wake Forest, in their final three games.

TSL Postseason Prediction: NIT


Miami (11-16, 4-9, #152 RPI)

Don’t look now, but Miami is playing much better basketball as of late. They
are winners of two of their last three games. They defeated NC State 80-65, lost
a tough 74-69 game at Wake Forest, and then defeated Virginia 68-60 in Coral
Gables on Wednesday night. The Hurricanes have gotten better, and they are no
guaranteed win at this point.

The Hurricanes recently brought center Jimmy Graham back from injury. He’s
rusty, but he played a big part in Miami’s win over Virginia with five points
and five rebounds in 21 minutes.

Miami has no chance for postseason play. They face road games at Virginia
Tech and Clemson, and a home matchup with Florida State, in their final three
games.

TSL Postseason Prediction: No Postseason


Wake Forest (13-14, 4-10, #121 RPI)

The Demon Deacons have also played better basketball as of late, winning
three of their last five games. They defeated Miami 74-69 in Winston-Salem last
Saturday and fell on the road to Georgia Tech 75-61 on Wednesday night.

The Demon Deacons got on a roll at the end of last season and snuck their way
into the NIT, and they will look to do the same this season. They’ll need to
finish .500 or better overall. They have two regular season games remaining.
They play at NC State on February 28, and host Virginia on March 4.

TSL Postseason Prediction: No Postseason

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