The non-conference portion of the
The lone outlier was
So as the conference schedule beckons this weekend, every ACC team has a winning record. But only a few are well-positioned to make the
In the league’s final year with nine teams, six earned
That trend appears likely to continue.
Only four of the ACC’s 12 teams are ranked among the top 50 of the Rating Percentage Index, updated daily at realtimerpi.com and used by the NCAA selection committee. Worse, five conference teams, including
Conversely, unbeaten Duke is a consensus No. 1 — human polls and RPI — despite a diabolical schedule ranked the nation’s toughest. Setbacks against Oklahoma State and undefeated Michigan aside, preseason ACC favorite
Miami has overcome personnel losses and appears capable of making its first NCAA appearance in five years. Georgia Tech and
A team-by-team assessment, in RPI order:
DUKE (13-0, No. 1 RPI): Led by seniors
N.C. STATE (11-2, No. 13): The Wolfpack leads the nation in field goal percentage at 53.5 and, like Duke, can score from every position. Freshmen T.J. Warren and Rodney Purvis appear to be meshing well with veterans such as
MIAMI (9-3, No. 15): Wednesday’s 76-59 victory over LaSalle, the Hurricanes’ fourth top-100 win, snapped a two-game losing streak that coincided with center
NORTH CAROLINA (10-3, No. 27): The
MARYLAND (12-1, No. 70): Of the Terps’ 12 wins since an opening loss to Kentucky, only two — George Mason and Stony Brook — are over top-100 opponents. Hence the low RPI and No. 282 strength-of-schedule. Ten players are averaging between 11 and 25 minutes, so it will be interesting to see if
FLORIDA STATE (8-5, No. 99): The Seminoles’ run of four consecutive NCAA bids and winning ACC seasons is in serious jeopardy. Wednesday’s 78-72 loss at
GEORGIA TECH (10-2, No. 108): A 74-58 victory Wednesday over Chattanooga was the Yellow Jackets' eighth against a team below 200 on the RPI, hardly the way to win friends on the NCAA selection committee. In its lone game against the top 50, Tech lost at Illinois by 13. That said, after four losing records in the last five years, including a grim 11-20 last season, this start is encouraging. No Yellow Jacket is averaging more than 11.5 points, and freshmen Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter are the top scorers.
VIRGINIA TECH (9-4, No. 138): The Hokies were dreadful defensively in recent losses to
BOSTON COLLEGE (8-5, No. 141): Considering last season’s 8-22 record, this start is cause for optimism in Chestnut Hill. Riding a five-game winning streak, the Eagles are scoring more, rebounding better and shooting more accurately than last year, a sure formula for improvement, though they did lose to neighboring
VIRGINIA (10-3, No. 158): On the off chance the Cavaliers win enough league games to contend for the NCAA tournament, losses to Delaware (161 RPI) and Old Dominion (299), plus a non-conference schedule ranked 296th, will cost them immeasurably. As always under
WAKE FOREST (7-5, No. 184): Athletic director Ron Wellman insists the program is progressing under third-year coach Jeff Bzdelik, but the Xavier victory was arguably the first tangible evidence this season. Travis McKie and C.J. Harris are the league's top returning scorers and again headline the Deacons, but among the next six players in the rotation, five are freshmen, led by point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. Wake has 40 more turnovers than assists, reflective of its youth.
CLEMSON (8-4, No. 199): The Tigers have finished .500 or above in ACC play five consecutive seasons, an unrivaled stretch for them. That’s unlikely to continue. With only two seniors, forwards Devin Booker and Milton Jennings, and no juniors, Clemson appears too young, especially in the backcourt, where last season seniors Tanner Smith and Andre Young were in charge. The Tigers’ No.
So Duke and N.C. State are the class of the league, with Miami, North Carolina and Maryland as NCAA tournament probables. Anyone else would be a bonus.
Not so next season, when Pittsburgh,
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