As we head into the final weekend of the ACC regular season, some teams are in better shape than others. But almost everyone — including the Canes — have something to play for.
Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Miami as a 7 seed, playing Alabama in the Detriot subregional, with a potential rematch with Michigan State in the next game. That number will probably change in the next week-and-a-half, as the Canes and everyone else complete their tournament resumes. I would imagine that number to be between 5 and 9 when the bracket is released, but that determines not only on what Miami does but also how similar-seeded teams such as Butler, Florida, Creighton, etc finish too.
Lunardi has nine ACC teams in, leading all conferences and matching last year’s output.
When it comes to ACC tournament seeds, Miami currently sits at 6. Everyone at the 9-spot or above gets a bye directly into the second round, played on Wednesday in Washington. Miami has clinched at least one bye with their win Tuesday night. The top four get to skip another round by automatically advancing to Thursday’s quarterfinals. In addition to the extra rest that the extra bye allows for, finishing top four in the ACC is reflective of a team’s success in the nation’s toughest conference.
At times, Miami has struggled this season — heck, just a week-and-a-half ago there was talk about the Hurricanes being on the bubble and potentially missing the NCAA tournament.
Now the Canes have won three straight— including Tuesday night at #9 UNC— and can finish in the ACC’s top four.
How situations can change quickly. If anything, it shows that the conference is so strong, it can make really good teams look mediocre on any given night.
For Miami to crack the top four, three things have to happen:
First and foremost, Miami needs to beat Virginia Tech on Saturday. If this doesn’t happen, the rest is irrelevant.
On top of beating Virginia Tech, Miami will also need two of the following:
- NC State loses either at Georgia Tech Thursday night or at home to Louisville on Saturday evening.
- Clemson loses to both Florida State Wednesday night and Syracuse on Saturday. (editor’s note: Clemson beat Florida State 76-63 on Wednesday night, so this option is no longer possible).
- North Carolina loses to Duke on Saturday Night.
Virginia Tech has an identical conference record and is playing for everything Miami is, making Saturday’s game big.
As for the “Big Dance,” everyone from #1 Virginia to 9th place FSU are in, according to Lunardi’s latest bracket.
Of those nine, seven are probably safely in. FSU (19-9, 8-8) and Louisville (19-10, 9-7) have some more work to do.
Louisville— who is in the “last four in” part of the bubble— probably needs just one more win, which they can get by beating Virginia on Thursday night, NC State on Saturday, or a game in the ACC tournament. FSU has it slightly tougher but as long as they beat Clemson or Boston College, they shouldn't be in a cold sweat on selection Sunday, especially if they advance in the conference tournament.
Syracuse is not currently one of the nine teams in Lunardi's bracket, but the team who is currently second out has a chance to move up last-minute in their matchups with BC and Clemson.
Notre Dame— currently listed in the “next four out” catagory— could sneak in if they beat Pitt, Virginia, and someone else in DC. The return of Bonzie Colson also has a chance to spark new life in the Irish.
This conference has an advantage in that none of the bubble teams must play each other— meaning that no team trying to advance will eliminate another team.
Because of this, the Atlantic Coast Conference is all but guaranteed between 7 and a record-tieing 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Is this time of year always crazy?
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