Dribble Handoff: Predicting which ACC teams will enter the 2022 NCAA Tournament
The ACC has placed an average of 7.3 teams in the last seven NCAA tournaments, which equates to nearly half of the conference’s 15 teams reaching the Big Dance each season during that span. But this year’s Selection Sunday, March 13, threatens to be a rude awakening for a proud basketball conference suffering from a dismal season.
On Monday, only three ACC teams were in the projected field of CBS sports bracketology expert Jerry Palm’s NCAA Tournament. Of those three, only Duke was not considered to be on the bubble. But all hope is not lost, and the final weeks of the season will decide whether the league saves face or ends up with fewer NCAA Tournament teams than Mountain West.
While the Blue Devils are an NCAA tournament lock, Notre Dame, Miami, Wake Forest and North Carolina are each considered bubble teams. And Virginia Tech is also going from strength to strength after winning its sixth straight game on Monday against Virginia and climbing to 35th in Tuesday’s NET rankings.
There’s also the possibility that someone – maybe Syracuse or Virginia? – could get hot in the ACC Tournament and crash the NCAA Tournament party. So, how many ACC teams will actually make it to the NCAA Tournament, and who will they be? Our editors answer that question for this week’s edition of Dribbling Transfer.
Duke, Notre Dame, Miami, Wake Forest
From 2014 to 2020, without exception, the ACC has ranked among the top four college basketball conferences, according to KenPom.com. But last season he finished fifth. And he is ranked fifth again this season. So those are consecutive years below average for a league with some of the biggest brands in the sport – including Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Louisville. Exactly why the ACC dropped is a topic worth exploring on another day. For now, let’s focus on the question posed.
How many ACC teams will participate in the NCAA Tournament?
Put me for four.
Duke is a lock — and Notre Dame is obviously in good shape with a favorable schedule going forward, proof being that four of the Irishman’s last six regular-season games have been against teams ranked 100th or worse at KenPom. They will be fine. And I’m also betting on Miami and Wake Forest to sneak in because I guess both will close hard enough to end up just on the right side of the bubble. North Carolina is the one I’m least sure about. The Tar Heels still have no wins in Quadrant 1 with only two more regular-season Q1 opportunities — at Virginia Tech and Duke. They will be the underdogs in both games. So unless the Tar Heels do something over the next few weeks that they literally haven’t been able to do once in the past few months, they’ll likely find themselves in the NIT given that no school is never received a general offer. to the NCAA Tournament without at least one Quadrant 1 win since the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee began using NET rankings three seasons ago.
Duke, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Wake Forest
Alright, I’m surprised I landed here. There have been several occasions over the past two months where I’ve written on this site – something to the effect of – the ACC would be a four-candidate league at best. And in fact, the most likely outcome will be four teams. However, I have more confidence in North Carolina than in Parrish. The Tar Heels easily rank among the top three most intriguing bubble teams (I’d have Rutgers and BYU in that group). UNC has no good wins and… no bad losses. How do we even try to interpret such a summary? UNC still has two Quad 1 opportunities in the regular season and then should get two more in the ACC Tournament, provided it plays two ACC Tournament games. If North Carolina can win three of those four Quad 1 games, which I think they will, then they will enter. The Heels finishing with between 23 and 25 wins will have had enough.
Now, like my other three non-Duke teams, it’s easier. Our Lady is explained above by Parrish. Wake Forest projects as a safer tournament team according to BartTorvik.com (which also has UNC 58% to make the pack), but Miami has Wake Forest’s season sweep — plus four Quad 1 wins over Wake Forest’s. I think at least one ACC team heading to Dayton for the First Four is very likely. Two is not unthinkable. It’s been an eventful year for the ACC, but I no longer believe it will be the worst season in conference history.
Duke, Miami, Notre Dame
The disintegration of Florida State, Syracuse and Louisville, as well as Georgia Tech’s rapid return to mediocrity after its 2021 ACC Tournament title, have gutted the league’s middle class and made it nearly impossible for teams to the ACC to catch up on the bubble. Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, North Carolina’s position at 38th in the NET means their game between them at Virginia Tech on Saturday will fall just outside Quad 1 territory for the Hokies. These two teams are combined 0-12 in Quad 1 games, and it’s hard to see where either will pick up a Quad 1 victory heading into the playoffs. Likewise, Wake Forest lost to Duke on Tuesday and has no more opportunities scheduled for Quad 1 to improve from 1-4 in Quad 1 games.
Notre Dame’s victory over Kentucky and victory in Miami give them a bit more cushion in Quad 1, and as long as the Fighting Irish get closer to a manageable schedule, they should be in the game. For Miami, wins at Duke, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest give it some security. A win at a neutral site against North Texas in November also marks a fourth Quad 1 win for the Hurricanes, which is a nice giveaway that gives them at least room for error over time. Ultimately, ACC teams currently on the wrong side of the Palm bubble, such as UNC, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, have fewer opportunities for impressive wins than those in Michigan, Oklahoma. , Rutgers and Iowa State. Even Mountain West bubble teams such as San Diego State and Boise State arguably have more resume-building opportunities than their ACC counterparts on the bubble.