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What Remains of the Season Part I

I don't particularly enjoy focusing on the tournament far in advance. "Bracketology" is one of the great plagues upon the sport and the absolute earliest one should use the term "bubble team" is with two weeks to go in the regular season. Which is now. Even so, I'm more interested in who will win the ACC than who will make the NCAA's, but for the six teams already mathematically eliminated from the title, the postseason is what they can look forward to. Here's their road ahead:

Clemson 19-7 (5-7)
Remaining schedule: Duke, at BC, Miami, at Virgina Tech

Meet the definition of a bubble team. The Tigers are 26th in RPI at the moment, 21st in Ken Pomeroy's rankings, but haven't been playing like an NCAA tournament team since back-to-back heartbreakers against Duke and Virginia. Losing to Wake Forest is the sign of a team that has all but given up, and the remaining schedule is one of the league's toughest. The Duke game is a must-win at this point, and even a 7-9 conference record might not be impressive enough with so may losses late.

Georgia Tech 17-9 (5-7)
Remaining schedule: Wake, at UVa, UNC, BC

Tech, 49th in the RPI and a surprising 13th in Pomeroy's rankings has an equally hard row to 0.500. At least most of the games are at home. Even so, I can't see the Yellow Jackets getting more than one win out of their last three games, and a young team won't have much luck in the ACC tournament either. They're almost assured an NIT bid.

Florida State 17-10 (5-8)
Remaining schedule: at Maryland, NCSU, at Miami

Oddly enough the dissappointing of late Seminoles, owners of a four-game losing streak and Georgia Tech's only conference road win, are in a better postion than the teams above them. They've already destroyed Maryland once, and shouldn't have much trouble with either the Wolfpack or the Hurricanes. None of this will do much to help their numbers (43rd in RPI, 37th in Pomeroy) but if they can keep it together and win out, 20 wins should be enough for the NCAA's.

North Carolina State 14-11 (4-8)
Remaining schedule: at UNC, at FSU, Wake, at Maryland

The Wolfpack are angling for an NIT bid, which ironically enough depends in part on impressing Dean Smith. The consolation tournament no longer requires a 0.500 record, but has shrunk to 32 teams and does have automatic bids for regular season conference champions left out of the NCAAs. They'll need to improve on their RPI (125th before the VaTech win) and probably could use at least a 2-2 record down the stretch. UNC won't let them have it at home, so their best hope is the ever mercurial Terrapins, who they'll catch coming off a stretch of games against UNC and Duke - the perfect opportunity to end the season on a win.

Wake Forest 13-13 (4-9)
Remaining schedule: at Georgia Tech, at NCSU, UVa

There's no reason Wake can't win the first two games - they've actually won four of their last six. Of course, they also lost the six previous to that, and need a season-ending sweep to make the NIT. They won't get it.

Miami 10-16 (3-9)
Remaining schedule: UVa, at Virginia Tech, at Clemson, FSU

A hopeless team fighting to avoid a twenty loss season. They could surprise an opponent, but probably won't.