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The Closing Weeks of the ACC Season

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We're just two weeks away from the end of the ACC season, leaving everybody with only three or four games left to play. To make matters worse, there a seven teams separated by only two games between second and eighth place, ten teams can still reach at least .500, and everybody seems to be going in a different direction every week. It made me curious for a quick breakdown of who has what remaining on the schedule:

North Carolina (10-3): Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech, and Duke. 

Everybody's going to put their best game up against the Tar Heels. For Georgia Tech, it still won't help, but the other two are dangerous match-ups. Of course, meeting UNC having just blown their chance for a fourteen game run after an embarrassing start is even more dangerous; the Heels should win out.

Duke (8-4): at Maryland, at Virginia Tech, Florida State, and at UNC. 

Duke has one of the toughest schedules down the stretch, with two .500 teams who have had decent success against the Blue Devils recently, followed by a team it's tied for second with currently and, of course, a Tar Heel team that wants to crush them as a matter of course. That they only get the friendly confines of Cameron once doesn't make matters any easier. Couple this with the fading-in-February tendency of the recent Blue Devils teams, and they could lose as many as three of these games, knocking them out of a Thursday bye and dispiriting them before the tournament. 

Florida State (8-4): at Boston College, Clemson, at Duke and Virginia Tech.

FSU alone among any ACC teams this season has rarely lost a conference matchup against an inferior opponent - only a Miami game in mid-January mars their performance. Keep that up and they should easily master BC and the Hokies, but Clemson and Duke are two of the tougher conference teams they could face. A 10-6 finish would be quite respectable, and greater than that almost guarantees a weekend tournament game.

Clemson (8-4): Virginia Tech, at Florida State, Virginia, at Wake Forest.

That's a very manageable run of teams for the Tigers. Every match but Virginia will be proof they belong at the top of the heap, and they could easily skate to 3-1 and a second place finish in the league.

Wake Forest (7-5): N.C. State, at Virginia, at Maryland, Clemson.

Wake has the easiest finish of the competing teams. They shouldn't lose again to the Wolfpack, especially at home, and UVa should be no problem. Maryland and Clemson are their two real threats, and given the Demon Deacons' wide disparities depending on the court they play on - they're 5-1 in Lawrence Joel and 2-4 away from it - they'll almost certainly split the last two games to be a robust 10-6.

Boston College (7-6): Florida State, at N.C. State, Georgia Tech.

The Eagles' remaining games are also a winnable bunch, but not knowing which team will show up has got to make their fans nervous. Is it the team that beat UNC and Duke in their only meetings, or the one that was swept by Miami? Georgia Tech won't be a problem either way, but this team could just as easily go 3-0 as 1-2.

Maryland (6-6): Duke, at N.C. State, Wake Forest, and at Virginia.

Two tough games at home and much easier ones on the road for the Terps. That's good news for a team who's 5-1 in Comcast and 1-5 elsewhere. I think they used too much of what's left in the tank knocking of UNC, however, and will probably fade to 1-3 in what's left. Not that I won't be rooting for them to take out Duke, though.

Virginia Tech (6-6): at Clemson, Duke, UNC, at Florida State.

This is just a brutal slate for a team whose only impressive win was over Wake Forest on January 21st. And athough it's dangerous to count the Hokies out, an 0-4 finish is a near certainty.

N.C. State (5-7): at Wake Forest, Maryland, Boston College, at Miami.

A good closing draw for the Wolfpack, although the Wake game is pretty unwinnable. Pomeroy thinks the Miami game is almost as lost a cause, but State could build up some momentum and finish out with three straight wins, leapfrogging their way to .500 ball.

Miami (5-8): at Virginia, at Georgia Tech, N.C. State.

Another team with a good shot at hitting 8-8, as bleak as things look now. The Hurricanes and the Wolfpack will be battling for crucial ACC seeding come next Saturday.

Virginia (3-9): Miami, Wake Forest, at Clemson, Maryland

Georgia Tech (1-12): at UNC, Miami, at Boston College

Two no-hoper teams. They'll be lucky to get a win between them, and it will almost certainly come with their final games.