Tread Carefully Through the ACC

North Carolina Men's College Basketball

Tread Carefully Through the ACC

In February’s AP college basketball rankings, five of the nation’s top 12 teams were members of the ACC. In ESPN’s tournament bubble watch, nine of the conference’s 15 teams are alive for March, with Syracuse recently excusing itself from consideration.

In 2014-15, the Atlantic Coast Conference is a cataclysmic cornucopia of talent and brutal schedules and despair.

Just check out the schedule of the Pittsburgh Panthers, owners of a 4-5 in-conference record and a spot on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Pitt recently faced three top 10 opponents in the span of four games at the end of January. It salvaged one top-notch victory, vanquishing Notre Dame.

That wasn’t enough though. This coming week, the Panthers will face three top 12 teams in six days! They probably need to win two to build a resume for March, but because of scheduling death, they’ll be lucky to escape 1-2.

And Syracuse may have been lucky (or smart) to self-impose its postseason ban when it did. There is little chance this team would have been able to traverse what it has coming up unscathed. Of the Orange’s final seven games of the year, it faces five top 10 opponents, including Duke twice in the span of two weeks. And three of the final four come on the road.

Virginia Tech may be a bad team in Buzz Williams’ first season as head coach. They were definitely not expected to do much. But can the Hokies catch a break?! In conference play, Virginia Tech is a putrid 1-8. Of those eight losses, half came by three points or fewer. Three more of its out-of-conference losses came by the same spread. The 2014-15 campaign wasn’t VT’s year anyway, but the basketball gods certainly seem to agree.

Even the North Carolina Tar Heels are not out of the woods as far as securing a comfortable position in March is concerned. Back-to-back bad losses (in manner not in deficit) means UNC is just 1-3 against the cream of the conference, with two games still to come against the Duke Blue Devils. Their out-of-conference results are strong, meaning the Heels should be okay, but this ACC is doing them no favors.

Opportunities for resume-building wins are great and certainly help a team make it into the NCAA Tournament. But that’s only if it wins! A mountain of good losses results in teams missing the postseason, and there may never be a better example of this than this year’s ACC.