Strength Of Schedule Keeping Boston College's Tournament Hopes Alive

Duke and North Carolina are already in this year's NCAA Tournament, but beyond those two conference powers, no other ACC team is a lock. Florida State (19-8), Virginia Tech (18-8), Clemson (18-9), Maryland (18-10) and BC (16-11) all have a shot at making this year's Tournament, but each has serious flaws with its resume.

Florida State is coming off a 78-62 loss to the Terrapins and have missed Chris Singleton, who is out with a broken right foot. The Seminoles RPI is currently at 54, which is solid, but they have played the 10th weakest schedule in conference with an SOS of 102. 

Virginia Tech has 18 wins, but the Hokies also have three bad in-conference losses to Virginia x2 and Georgia Tech. The Hokies strength of schedule -- 111 -- isn't helping Greenberg's cause either. That's good for worst in the ACC.

Clemson (18-9, 7-6 ACC), currently tied for 5th with Maryland in the ACC standings, has middling Tournament resume numbers and bad losses to Virginia and N.C. State.

Maryland is hanging onto the Tournament bubble by a thread, and a win over Florida State certainly helps. But the Terps have a lot of work left to do, starting Saturday when they travel to Chapel Hill. Getting swept by BC in the regular season also doesn't help the Terps Tournament chances when compared directly to the Eagles.

Finally, though BC has just 16 wins, and has won 2 of its last 8 ACC games, the Eagles resume is propped up by a conference best strength of schedule (16) and an RPI of 50. 

The Eagles SOS has been strengthened by playing the fewest games against RPI 200+ teams of the 12 ACC programs -- just three, against St. Francis (NY), Holy Cross and Bryant. BC will play a fourth game against an RPI 200+ team in the regular season finale when they host Wake Forest. 

The Tar Heels, who also have just three games against RPI 200+ teams, don't have another game against an RPI 200+ opponent for the remainder of the regular season. So UNC will finish with the fewest games over RPI 200+ teams in conference.

Contrast BC's three games against RPI 200+ teams with tournament hopefuls Maryland (10-0), Florida State (9-1) and Virginia Tech (8-0). While all three programs have better overall records and more wins in conference to date, their resumes are filled with wins over marginal opponents. 

This year's ACC unbalanced schedule actually helped BC's SOS quite a bit this year, as the Eagles missed playing ACC teams with lower RPIs twice this season, including N.C. State (98), Georgia Tech (178) and Wake Forest (250). 

So while BC's 16-11 (6-7 ACC) record isn't much to look at, there is still some hope given the Eagles' strong strength of schedule. At the end of the day, the NCAA Tournament selection process is as much a sniff test as it is a numbers game, and BC's strong RPI and SOS numbers will certainly help out their cause come Selection Sunday. Now, the Eagles just have to start winning again.

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