Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Important Results All Over The ACC

#7 Duke 84, #24 Florida State 81
This was a very respectable showing for Florida State. Duke has been playing well recently, and they're always tough at Cameron, but Florida State was only done in at the end by an outstanding Gerald Henderson performance. Duke has now won five straight games, and will be more of a match for North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Sunday than most people would have thought after their performance against the Tar Heels a few weeks ago. It's hard to see Duke getting a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament unless they pull out the win on Sunday, but they're looking like a likely 2 seed. Florida State, even with this loss, is still a lock for the NCAA Tournament. This loss won't really hurt their seeding, but they've got to take care of what will be a desperate Virginia Tech team on Sunday. The Seminoles have a shot at a 3 or a 4 seed if they can win a few more games this season, but their seed will drop precipitously if they let this loss snowball.

#10 Wake Forest 65, Maryland 63
This was probably the best Wake Forest has looked in a couple of weeks, beating a Maryland team that really needs one more big victory. What was interesting about this win is that Wake Forest did it without a tremendous game from their star guards. Once again it's been proven that any team with halfway decent big men can dominate Maryland inside. The Terps are the ACC's version of Oklahoma State this season. Wake Forest actually won the rebounding battle by 19. They've obviously blown their chances at a 1 seed, but Wake Forest is still ranked 10th in the nation and could still get a 2 seed if they make some noise in the ACC tournament. As for Maryland, you've got to wonder how good this team would be if they had a power forward or center on the roster. Maryland falls to 7-8 in the ACC, and their RPI is 58th, but they're in a better position for a Tournament bid than you might think. They close at Virginia, where they'll be favored. Their 8-10 record against the RPI Top 100 is mediocre, but it's good enough. I don't think they'd be in the Tournament if the season ended now, but they'll get their shot. They have to beat Virginia, and then win their first round ACC tournament game - where they might play Virginia again. At that point they'll be a bubble team no matter what happens in their ACC quarterfinals game, but I think Maryland might need a win in that ACC quarterfinal game to make the Tournament.

#2 North Carolina 86, Virginia Tech 78
Another solid peformance, another close loss for Virginia Tech. They're going to end up being better than several teams that earn at-large Tournament bids, but they'll probably be in the NIT regardless, because in the end it's about who you beat and who you lost to. They now have a near-must win on the road at Florida State on Sunday. A loss there and it's hard to see a realistic path to the Tournament for a team that has really been snake bitten all season long. As for North Carolina, it does look like after all of the doubts raised after their three losses that they're most likely going to end the regular season ranked #1 in the nation. They will be favored against Duke, and UConn will be a pretty big underdog at Pitt. If both of those games go to the favorites then UNC will be #1 in the nation as they head into the ACC tournament. They don't necessarily have to win the ACC tournament to get a 1 seed, but they can be certain about that 1 seed if they take the title.

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