Conference Stock Report

The final week of the regular season is upon us. The ACC continues to have tournament experts thinking it is an eight team league. With ten teams in the mix for those eight bids, the final week could make or break it for some teams. It will also setup the first round of the conference tournament, which may be an elimination round.

This week we focus on the final week and what each team must do to setup their conference tournament seeding and perhaps their NCAA tournament position. If the league gets eight seeds, two teams will be eliminated this week or in the conference tournament. Depending upon how things go over the final week, the league could drop to seven bids.

That means five teams in the league are fighting for at least two spots and maybe three. With everyone so bunched up, conference seeding and first round play will be critical. Even the teams assured of a NCAA berth have work to do in terms of post-season seeding. A drop-off this week and a team could end up playing Boise instead of close to home

The Buys

North Carolina (25-3, 11-3): UNC is a lock for the NCAA's, but has yet to lock up the top-seed in the conference tournament or a top-seed in the NCAA's. Their loss to Maryland hurt. They now sit just one game ahead of Duke, who they face to end the season. Before that showdown, they must travel to a desperate Virginia Tech. Because of the Maryland loss, the tie-breaker with Duke is now much more complicated. In short, they have to win the final two to get the top-seed.

Duke (24-5, 10-4): The Dukies will not go away. Last week they bounced back from their losing skid and beat both Maryland and Virginia Tech on the road. This put them in position to win the conference regular season, secure the top seed and perhaps get a two-seed in the NCAA. They control their destiny this week. If they beat FSU at home and UNC on the road, they win the league. Even if they drop their game to UNC, they will fall no further than third place and get a bye in the first round.

Wake Forest (22-5, 9-5): Another team that keeps hanging around is Wake. Last week they were on the outside looking in for a first round bye. This week they hold the tie-breaker with Clemson and FSU at this point. If they win their final two games, they lock up a first round bye and are assured at least third place. Even if they drop a game, they will not fall out of the top four, because of their win over FSU earlier in the season.

Florida State (22-7, 9-5): The Seminoles are in an interesting spot. Their RPI is 48 and they are sitting in fourth place. Two wins and they get a bye and lock up a tournament bid. On the other hand, they finish with Duke and VT. Two losses and they could drop into seventh or eighth place. That would also drop their RPI, currently at 48. In other words, this is a team that remains on the bubble and needs another win. Otherwise, they need a run in the conference tournament.

The Holds

Clemson (22-6, 8-6): A bad week and they are now out the outside looking in for a bye. Even if they win their final two games, they need a lot of help to get into the top four. The two teams ahead of them hold the tie-breaker. At this point, Clemson is in the NCAA's and is simply playing to improve their seed. They get Virginia this week and finish with Wake, which gives them a shot for another quality win.

Miami (17-10, 6-8): This is the team that creates the biggest problem for the bubble teams. They have a very high RPI, 26th. They have the softest final week, at GT and home against NCST. If they take care of business, they would be the most attractive of the bubble teams. A win in the tournament would put them in the NCAA's. Even a loss could keep them in it. That puts pressure on everyone else to keep winning and have a strong tournament. Otherwise, Miami's RPI will jump them ahead of the rest for a final spot.

Boston College (10-9, 8-6): The Eagles got the much needed win to remove them from the bubble. Assuming they get another win, they should be in the tournament. A win at NCST would lock it up and get them a good seed in the conference tournament. They can still get a bye, but need a lot of help. The main issue here is to finish fifth or sixth. That gives them a favorable first round game and puts them ahead of the other bubble teams in the conference.

Maryland (18-10, 7-7): The Terps are playing for the eighth and final spot in the tournament. Even with a strong finish and good conference tournament, they will remain behind the other seven teams. They finish with Wake at home and at Virginia. A split and they need a first round win in the conference tournament to get a long look from the committee. Two wins in the tournament and they could jump ahead of BC and Miami, depending upon their finish.

The Sells

Virginia Tech (17-11, 7-7): The Hokies may be done at this point. Their RPI, 70th, means they need to win their final two and make a run in the tournament. They finish with Wake and at Virginia. A split gets them in the jumble with the other bubble teams, but that RPI is the issue. That means they need two wins to finish the season and at least one win in the tournament. The highest they can finish is seventh and that means a first round matchup against Miami.

NC State (15-12, 5-9): Whatever hope they had for a late run into the NCAA's was washed away with two losses last week. Even if they beat BC and Miami to end the season, they need a miracle run in the tournament to get a bid.

Virginia (9-16, 3-11): They are playing out the string as they cannot finish better than 11th. The only meaningful game for them is the finale at home against Maryland. A win could knock the Terps out of the tournament.

Georgia Tech (10-17, 1-13): There is nothing about their final week that will have an impact on the post-season.


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