The ACC's Chances in the NCAA Tournament

The last couple of years haven't been the best for the ACC in the tournament. In 2006, the ACC only got four teams in, although they went a respectable 6-4. The last two years brought seven and four teams, respectively, and both years only North Carolina made it past the first weekend. The ACC needs a good postseason, but I don't think this is going to be that year. To wit:

  • Maryland has the worst efficiency margin of any remotely major conference team. Put them up against a California team that, although not great, has rarely lost to a team beneath them (except Oregon State, twice.) and no one really gives the Terps much of a chance to get out of the first round.
  • Boston College draws the Pac-10 tournament champion in the first round, and shares a pod with the strongest Big Ten School. That coupled with a low RPI that has some people arguing they're horribly overseeded spells trouble for the Eagles. They also have the second worst efficiency margin among major conference teams.
  • Clemson enters the tournament having lost four of their last five games, including an embarrassment of an ACC Tournament performance. They draw a Michigan team no one can make heads or tails of, but even if they win that game they must get past an Oklahoma team playing on a near-home court.
  • Florida State is taking a team of tournament neophytes to a first round game in Boise, Idaho. There they meet Wisconsin, a team with a much better efficiency margin and the bruisers to play with the Seminoles' bigs. The only bright side is that the Badger's slow tempo plays to FSU's strengths.
  • Wake Forest is another team with no players with NCAA tournament experience and a poor ACC tournament performance. To make it out of their pod they'll have to stop a Utah team that beat LSU by 30 points.
  • Duke is getting buzz for being "back" after an ACC Tournament crown and the Eliot Williams / Greg Paulus substitution. The Greensboro crowd shoud get them to the Sweet Sixteen, although Rick Barnes is a little familiar with Duke basketball. If they make it to Boston they'll almst certainly have a gauntlet of Big East teams in Villanova and Pittsburgh waiting for them, and there's just no way they'll make it out of there.
  • North Carolina is North Carolina. If Ty Lawson is back by Saturday, they'll be fine.
So UNC aside, I see five, maybe six wins from the other six conference teams, and maybe one non-Tar Heel alive in the second week. The Big East will almost certainly roll through most of the early games, leaving us to a lot of talking heads about the disappointment the conference is this season. I don't think it's going to be fun.
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