ACC Men’s Basketball Bracketology
Jim Quist With A Sneak Peek Of March Madness
With the ups and downs of the conference so far, it’s a challenge to lay out any ACC Men’s Basketball Bracketology.
So, with the assistance of Joe Lunardi, Ken Pomeroy and the NCAA RPI, we’ll take a look at what March may look like.
First, let’s take a look at how the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings (through Sunday, February 5) look for ACC men’s basketball teams with aspirations of joining the NCAA field of 68.
Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings
- #2 Louisville
- #3 Virginia
- #10 North Carolina
- #13 Florida State
- #15 Duke
- #27 Notre Dame
- #33 Wake Forest
- #38 Clemson
- #39 Miami
- #47 Syracuse
- #55 Virginia Tech
That’s eleven teams that are, statistically speaking, more than qualified to have a stab at March Madness.
Now, let’s look at the NCAA Rating Percentage Index or RPI. As a refresher, the RPI is a statistical quantity using strength of schedule and a team win and loss record.
- #3 Louisville
- #4 North Carolina
- #6 Florida State
- #14 Virginia
- #19 Duke
- #27 Wake Forest
- #28 Notre Dame
- #44 Virginia Tech
- #55 Miami
- #58 Pitt
Holding off on the deep dive for a moment, let’s look at the ACC teams that Joe Lunardi has selected for his bracket as of Monday, February 6.
Lunardi has also seeded the teams.
Joe Lunardi Bracketology
- #2 Louisville
- #2 North Carolina
- #3 Florida State
- #4 Virginia
- #5 Duke
- #7 Notre Dame
- #8 Virginia Tech
- #11 Miami
- #11 Wake Forest
- #11 Clemson (currently tied with Indiana)
We’ll go ahead and buy in with Clemson and, once again, the ACC sends 10 teams to postseason play.
When it comes to bubble teams, the Pomeroy Ratings puts Pitt and Georgia Tech just outside the realm of possibility at #73 and #79 respectively.
In the NCAA RPI, our bubble teams are Syracuse and Georgia Tech at #72 and #75 respectively.
With Lunardi’s Bracketology, the bubble team becomes Clemson.
Notice that Lunardi does not include Syracuse. Even with two big wins, so far, Cuse has been woefully inconsistent this season. They take a huge hit in the RPI.
Pitt is another team that, though #58 in the RPI are only #73 in the Pomeroy Ratings. The Panthers performance thus far has not produced the type of results that earn a spot in the tournament.
Is it really possible that the ACC will send ten teams to the playoffs? At what point will the selection committee say that a conference should have a cut off point? Should they? Of course not.
Unless Clemson completely tanks, the Tigers should round out the Top 10 from the ACC. They’ll have to earn it with better basketball in February.
The conference is delivering some of the best basketball ever. And yes, I find it easy to go back into the past to compare just like you may be doing. But, realistically, there has never been this many teams delivering this level of competition in the ACC.
ACC Men’s Basketball Bracketology
Louisville is the top pick across the board thus the Cardinals are in the bracket.
North Carolina is next but the Tar Heels aren’t delivering their best so far. It does seem to be coming together and that’s critical at this point of the season.
Virginia is up next. The Cavaliers are having a field day statistically but because of a few key losses have dropped in the RPI. That will hurt when it counts most.
Florida State delivers in the RPI but not as much statistically in Pomeroy. Even though the Seminoles are picked #3 by Lunardi, I’m picking them at #4. Essentially flip flopping them with Virginia.
Duke holds firm as the fifth selection. The Blue Devils are solid in the middle of the pack. That late season surge is about to kick in.
Here’s where stat’s come in handy.
Notre Dame and Wake Forest are very close in both the Pomeroy Ratings and the NCAA RPI. Don’t be shocked. The Demon Deacons always fly under the radar on media coverage.
In the Pomeroy Ratings, the Irish are #27 while Wake Forest is #33.
Meanwhile, over in the NCAA RPI, Wake Forest is #27 and Notre Dame #28.
Lunardi seeds the Irish #7 and Wake Forest #11.
Where Things Get Foggy
But, we need to look closer. Wake Forest is 22 positions ahead of Virginia Tech in the Pomeroy Ratings and 17 in the NCAA RPI. Yet, Virginia Tech receives a #8 seed.
At present, the Hokies have a 5-5 conference record vs 5-6 for the Demon Deacons. Unfortunately, anything under a .500 record is viewed negatively in sports. Wake gets dinged here.
The same discussion can be applied to Miami. The Canes are only 6 spots behind Wake Forest in the Pomeroy Ratings, however they’re 28 spots behind in the RPI. They also have a .500 record.
Miami is seeded #11 as well so the line here is very slim.
Do we stick with the Lunardi seeds? At present, yes. I did disagree with the Virginia-FSU seeding but let’s be real here. Who are you going to trust? Joe Lunardi or me?
Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Miami can all have a dramatic turn of fortune in the next few weeks that could change their seed.
Though Clemson is just behind Wake Forest in the Pomeroy and Virginia Tech in the RPI, their bubble status comes from their 3-7 (.300) in conference performance.
The Tigers present the greatest risk of dropping out of the Lunardi Bracket and not making it into postseason play.
Breaking down the numbers from the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings, the NCAA RPI and Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology provides a solid argument for a strong 9. And, a possibility of 10 ACC teams advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
As we get close to March Madness, we’ll keep tabs on these three sources to project ACC Men’s Basketball Bracketology.
The race is on.