Stuck in the Middle with You

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Building on Omega’s earlier post that a 10-8 conference record; with none of those wins coming against Cuse, Pitt, or UNC; will probably leave us on the wrong side of the bubble. I decided to take a closer look at the ACC bubble competition. I included all the teams between 6-4 and 4-6. Here are the depressing numbers:

Team Conf Rec RPI vs Top 50 vs 51-100 Left vs Top 4 Left vs Bubble Left vs Bottom
UNC 6-4 37 4-3 3-3 3 3 2
Clemson 6-4 64 1-4 2-2 2 3 3
Maryland 6-6 73 0-7 3-3 3 2 1
NC State 5-5 57 1-6 4-1 2 3 3
FSU 5-7 63 2-6 3-4 2 2 2
WF 4-6 79 2-7 2-1 1 5 2

Way to step up nobody, no one gets a round of applause. Everyone except UNC is a combined 6-30 against the Top 50 of the RPI.

Now let’s sift through this crap, team by team.


Barring a complete collapse, I think it is safe to say that UNC is a lock for the tournament (they are currently an 8-seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology). Their OOC wins are just too impressive to overlook. They do have the second toughest schedule left of the bubble teams, with two games against Duke, a home date with Pitt and two of their three games against other bubble teams on the road. Of course, with this team you never know what will happen. Uncle might decide he wants to watch a practice and drive right over Marcus Paige.

MPlode’s Post-season prognostication = IN


These guys have benefitted from a soft conference schedule and Pitt will be the only top team in the conference they face twice this year. They have feasted on terrible competition, getting 11 of their 15 wins against teams with a sub-150 RPI while going 4-7 against teams in the top 150. But, and it’s a big one, they have the big win that State does not. Beating Duke in early January, during Jabari Parker’s slump, will give them a lot of traction with the selection committee. Looking at their schedule, the State game will be huge for them. They can’t afford to lose at home to another bubble team that could have a very similar profile. I think they win 4 or 5 of their last 8 to finish with 10 or 11 wins. Their RPI won’t make it automatic, but their easy conference schedule should net them a first round bye in the ACC tournament, where they might need to win a game to secure a spot.

MPlode’s Post-season prognostication = Shaky but IN


Maryland has a brutal schedule coming up after losing to UVA last night, with Duke (away) and Syracuse in 2 of their next 3. They also end the season against UVA. Of all the bubble teams they definitely have the toughest schedule. They haven’t shown much this season to make me believe they can win any of those games, as their only top 100 RPI wins are against #53 Providence , #63 FSU, and #99 Miami. They probably only muster one or two more wins to end the year.

MPlode’s Post-season prognostication = OUT

NC State

Numbers are bullshit, so obviously we are in right? Remember what I said about Maryland’s unimpressive wins? The same holds true with State, as our top-100 wins have come against numbers 47, 63, 73, 97 and 99 (yay Miami!) in the RPI. State has been the best (WHAT?) among the middle tier against the RPI 51-100 opponents. We need a marquee win, let me repeat, WE NEED A MARQUEE WIN! Our remaining schedule isn’t daunting, but it does give us three chances at a top-50 RPI win. I think the least we can do to be considered for the tournament is sweep our games against the sub-RPI top 50 teams and lose against all the top teams. That would leave us at 10-8 and in, what I call, The Omega Zone. Honestly, I think we are going to the NIT if that happens. Can we finish 10-8 and go dancing, sure, if we drop a game to a bubble team but pick up another top-50 win. I just don’t think we pick up enough wins to get in.

MPlode’s Post-season prognostication = OUT


This team doesn’t have any bad losses and a couple good wins (VCU and UMass). I think they have been really hurt by the fact that they have played 7 sub-200 RPI teams (4 of them 290 or worse). For reference, State played 3 teams with sub-200 rankings. Do I think there is really a difference between a team ranked 170 and 230, no, but the computers do. In a what have you done for me lately world, FSU is struggling through the middle portion of their schedule. They’ve lost 6 of their last 8 and those wins were both at home against ND and VT. They have three top-50 RPI teams left on the schedule to try to push themselves back into the top-50. FSU’s home loss to Miami last night puts them too far back.

MPlode’s Post-season prognostication = OUT


I almost didn’t include Wake in this analysis, but then saw that 7 of their last 8 games are against bubble or bottom-feeder teams, so they definitely have a chance to shoot up the standings. If they get 6 or 7 wins, and finish with 10 or 11 conference wins, they would find themselves right on the bubble. It could happen, but it won’t. I have faith that Bzdelik will not allow that to happen.

MPlode’s Post-season prognostication = OUT

MPlode’s Final Results

Team Conf Rec Tourney Bid
UNC 11-7 Yes
Clemson 12-6 Yes
Maryland 8-10 No
NC State 9-9 No
FSU 8-10 No
WF 7-11 No
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