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Canes Hoops: How many ACC teams will be dancing this March?

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Arguably the best conference in college hoops always sends at least about half the league dancing

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Maryland vs Xavier
So many teams play for the month of March. How many ACC teams will make it?
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Atlantic Coast Conference sent nine teams to the NCAA Tournament. It was an all-time record for the conference. As we’re now well into 2018, the question must be asked, can they do it again?

In 2017, when more than half the conference got in, the blueprint for getting in the tournament was roughly having a. 500 record in conference. In 2016, roughly the same was true, however, Pitt and Syracuse, both 9-9, got in over Clemson and Virginia Tech, both 10-8, because the Panthers and the Orange had a significantly better overall record. Seven teams from the conference advanced that season, and the number was only that low because Louisville self-imposed a postseason ban that March.

In 2015, when only six teams made the dance, the criteria for selection was seemingly tougher, as any ACC team, such as 10-8 Miami, less than three games above .500 in conference play, obviously alongside teams with losing records, didn't make the tournament. 2014 was similar, as five of the six teams in the tournament were 11-7 or better in the conference. NC State was the exception, getting a #12 seed despite going only 9-9 in the ACC in large part because of a stellar overall record.

So, year in and year out, the formula is simple: You are in the tournament by winning at least 11 conference games or by winning about 20 games overall. So how many will advance to the tournament in 2018? It is still unclear. One scenario is that the entire conference beats up on each team, and only five or six teams don't have to sweat out selection Sunday. Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia would be in great shape along with a few other teams, possibly Clemson, Louisville, FSU or Miami, among others.

Next is the possibility that the top and middle of the conference beat up on themselves and the bottom teams while handling the back of the pack extremely well. Most teams set themselves up well before conference play. Only Pitt, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech entered ACC play with non-imposing non-conference records. If any given team in the ACC finishes the year .500 or better in conference, they would all have enough overall wins to probably get in, ditto the three teams I just mentioned. That would send a whopping 12 teams into March Madness.

Which probably will not happen. Five teams are in great shape. Six mid-standing teams in the conference have at least 13 wins so far. One team (GT) is in 6th but didn't help themselves before conference play. My prediction is that the ACC will send nine teams to the NCAA Tournament this year, matching last year’s total. Duke, NC, Louisville, Virginia, and Clemson are rolling. Between Miami, FSU, Notre Dame, NC State, Syracuse and Virginia Tech, I would say that two of these teams will lose a few more games than the other and miss the big dance.

Which leads to nine ACC teams. Possible, but very unlikely, this number could be as low as low as six or as high as 12. But the number will hover around nine, meaning a few good teams will not make it. The idea is that the Hurricanes will make it, but it is by no means guaranteed and a lot of work still must be done.

Poll

How many ACC teams make the NCAA Tournament this year?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    7 or less
    (45 votes)
  • 34%
    8
    (124 votes)
  • 36%
    9
    (133 votes)
  • 16%
    10 or more
    (61 votes)
363 votes total Vote Now