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Projecting the ACC Tournament Field

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Brian: Watching the BC-UNC game on Saturday and hearing CBS's famous Road to March Madness jingle as the network cut to commercial break, I couldn't help but get depressed over the thought of the Eagles not making this year's NCAA basketball tournament.

The only real shot this team has at making the NCAA Tournament, of course, is winning the ACC Tournament in Greensboro and receiving the conference's automatic bid.

So where are we at in terms of seeding for this year's ACC Tournament? Here's a look at the current ACC Standings. If the season ended today, BC would be the #9 seed in Greensboro.


Atlantic Coast Conference Standings

(updated 2.22.2010 at 12:20 AM CST)

Conf Overall
W L W L
1. Duke Blue Devils 11 2 23 4
2. Maryland Terrapins 9 3 19 7
3. Virginia Tech Hokies 8 4 21 5
4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 8 5 18 7
5. Clemson Tigers 7 5 19 7
6. Florida St. Seminoles 7 5 19 7
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 6 7 18 9
8. Virginia Cavaliers 5 7 14 11
9. Boston College Eagles 4 8 13 13
10. Miami Hurricanes 3 9 17 9
11. North Carolina Tar Heels 3 9 14 13
12. N.C. State Wolfpack 3 10 15 13


Looking ahead to the end of the season, and using kenpom projections for the final games of the ACC regular season, here is how the regular season will play out in the ACC:


Projected Atlantic Coast Conference Standings

 

Conf Overall
W L W L
1. Duke Blue Devils 13 3
26 5
2. Maryland Terrapins 11 5 21 9
3. Virginia Tech Hokies 10 6 23 7
4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 10 6 20 8
5. Florida St. Seminoles 10 6 22 8
6. Clemson Tigers 9 7 21 9
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 8 8 20 10
8. Boston College Eagles 6 10 15 15
9. Virginia Cavaliers 6 10 15 14
10. Miami Hurricanes 5 11 19 11
11. North Carolina Tar Heels 4 12 15 16
12. N.C. State Wolfpack 4 12 16 15

 

A win over Virginia at home would give BC the tiebreaker over the Cavs, moving them up one spot to the #8 seed. The top 4 teams remain unchanged, while Clemson and Florida St. swap spots at #5 and #6. Looking ahead to the ACC Tournament pairings, that would leave the following matchups on the first day:

#5 Florida State vs. #12 N.C. State
#6 Clemson vs. #11 North Carolina
#7 Georgia Tech vs. #10 Miami (Fla.)
#8 Boston College vs. #9 Virginia

The winner of the BC-Virginia game would then play #1 Duke and you'd have the below four games in the ACC Quarterfinals:

#1 Duke vs. Boston College / Virginia Winner
#2 Maryland vs. Georgia Tech / Miami (Fla.) Winner
#3 Virginia Tech vs. Clemson / North Carolina Winner
#4 Wake Forest vs. Florida State / N.C. State Winner

Let's assume for a moment that the top 4 teams will hold serve and get first round byes in Greensboro. As the Eagles jockey for ACC Tournament seeding in their final four regular season games, where would you ideally have BC seeded for this team to pull off the improbable and win 4 games in 4 days?

Jeff: I'd really like to see the Eagles get to 7-9 in conference and somehow win a tiebreaker and get to the #7 seed. That way the Thursday game is more of a given that they'll win and the Friday game is against a team other than Duke who is clearly the cream of the crop in the ACC.

But if you look at who the projected #2 seed is we'd be looking at playing Maryland who dominated BC in Chestnut Hill far worse than any other team this season so that is not exactly a matchup I'd get excited about. So really we need BC to move up to the #7 spot with somehow Virginia Tech moving up to #2. If Boston College plays Miami in the first round and Virginia Tech in the second round, I'd really like the Eagles' chances to make it to the semifinals. At that point the tournament would up for grabs with BC having a very legitimate chance of winning.

More realistically though, BC will stay playing in the #8 vs. #9 game and face Duke on Friday. This is not the worst-case scenario for this team because they have outplayed Duke for 2 of the 4 halves they played against them this season. Duke will have nothing to play for as far as NCAA tournament seeding since they will likely be a 2 seed with little chance of moving to a #1. Conversely, the Eagles should have the confidence they need to pull off the upset in an arena where every non-Duke fan will become an Eagles fan for a brief two hour period.

Either way, with the mediocrity in the ACC, if BC can enter the conference tournament having won 3 or 4 of their final 4 games, this year gives them as good of a chance as any year to pull off a stunning four-win ACC Tournament Championship.