Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Can ACC really get 7 teams in NCAAs?

ESPN “bracketologist” Joe Lunardi is extremely good at what he does.

When he projected earlier this week that based on their accomplishments as of Monday seven ACC teams would make the NCAA Tournament, he probably was right. Lunardi has a good handle on what other teams are doing throughout the nation and how they might fit into 65 slots.

Still, it’s easy to look at that projection and think, “No way.”

On this much, Lunardi is correct. North Carolina (gasp), N.C. State, Boston College, Miami and Virginia don’t have the credentials to make the NCAA Tournament. Virginia is the only team that's even close.

But Lunardi’s projection has everybody else in the conference making the tournament, and that just doesn’t seem right.

If the season ended today, Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech would be in, especially after the Hokies made their case stronger with a home win over Wake Forest on Tuesday. But it’s easy to even have reservations about Virginia Tech because its best win outside the conference is against Seton Hall.

The four other ACC teams have serious flaws:

- Georgia Tech is 3-6 in road games and its most impressive nonconference wins came at home against Siena and at Charlotte.

- Maryland doesn’t have a single win of note outside the ACC. According to, the Terrapins’ strongest nonconference victim was Fairfield (No. 100 in the RPI).

- Florida State’s best win outside the conference came against Marquette (No. 60) in Orlando, Fla.

- It wasn’t too long ago that Clemson lost four times in five games. The Tigers might be in the best shape of these four teams, though, because of an impressive win over Butler on a neutral court.


Every time North Carolina gets blown out is an occasion to gain greater appreciation for the job Tyler Hansbrough and his merry band of freshmen did in 2006 after the Tar Heels won the 2005 NCAA title.

It was easy to get “Hansbrough fatigue” by the time he was a junior and senior because the leader of the 2009 NCAA champions had been celebrated so long and didn’t have much to say.

But Hansbrough’s first-team All-ACC performance as a freshman grows more remarkable each time the Tar Heels play now – and so does the leadership of 2006 senior David Noel.

- With N.C. State wallowing in last place in the ACC, has the moment finally arrived when most N.C. State fans regret losing Herb Sendek to Arizona State four years ago?

After Sendek left, I wrote that sooner or later, fans would regret losing Sendek after he’d built the Wolfpack into a team with solid character that was making yearly trips to the NCAA Tournament.

But it’s a measure of Sendek’s failure to connect with the fans that even now, even though the Wolfpack hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since he left, that many fans still are glad he’s gone from Raleigh.

The night that Sendek wasn’t more upset over losing to North Carolina than he would have been over losing to any other ACC foe demonstrated a disconnect with the fans that he could never overcome.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

tarholes stink big time

more tragic than haiti

704Champ said...

"has the moment finally arrived when most N.C. State fans regret losing Herb Sendek to Arizona State four years ago?"


Bates said...

I'm still glad Herb is gone. I'm not sure Sidney is the answer, but Herb certainly was not.

Anonymous said...

The Terps have a BETTER record than the author thinks. They'll get into the Big Dance.

Anonymous said...

Herb was a good coach. Sidney Lowe is horrendous, and will be again next year. Time for State fans to cut their losses with this guy and move on. Great player -- terrible coach. One of the worst all-time, statistically.

The ACC will get six bids: Duke, Wake, VT, Maryland, Clemson and Gerogia Tech.

Duke is the only team capable of making the Elite 8, which is a sad state of affairs for the ACC.

49erman said...

And a great year for the A-10!!

The Reid said...

This is the worst that I've ever seen the ACC. This is a direct result of Carolina being down. When Carolina is good, the ACC is good and when they aren't, the ACC looks pretty average. But they aren't the only disappointment. Remember Clemson was supposed to be the 3rd best team in the conference? Remember Georgia Tech was supposed to be amazing with their freshman talent? Both will make the tournament but they clearly aren't playing up to expectations.

Anonymous said...

If the ACC gets seven teams in the big dance, then something is horribly wrong with the system. Some of the stronger teams from mid-majors should be given a shot instead of a mediocre team out of the ACC.

John W. said...

@Bates: You're saying Herb was not the answer -- what is the question? Unless Wolf Pack Nation is asking for more than a team that is regularly competitive in the league and one that expects post-season (NCAA-T) play, then it seems to me he was the guy.

If Sidney, with all of his Pack love, was doing what Herb did right now I've got a feeling he would be much more highly regarded than Herb ever was. Sendek was a vanilla individual and that just doesn't fly with the testosterone-heads who pack (no pun intended) the RBC.

There's a reason that NC State's only championship team was a massive underdog. That program, with the adjacent competition, is simply not going to be a title contender like it once was without a celebrity coach who can overshadow Duke and UNC's built in recruiting advantages. And until they can make that hire, assuming it is possible, I've got to believe that Herb is about as good as it's going to get.

RVDBBW said...

As a NC State fan i think Herb was a good coach but his flex-princeton offense was to maximize limited talent on his team and it became so predictable that it was boring to watch.

Coaching in the ACC is tough enough but to be the coach at NC State has got to be the worst head coaching job in the country. Not because of the school itself, which i love, but because you literally have two of the best schools in the country over the last 20+ years 8 miles away in either direction AND they play in your conference. Sendek made the tournament 5 years in a row. Great. but he didnt make the tournament in his first 4 years. His first 4 years he didnt do anything. Sid deserves his chance when you gave Sendek 10 and Sendek rarely beat Duke and UNC. I think Sid has at least equalled the amount of times Sendek's beaten UNC and Duke and if he hasnt then he's come close.

No superstar coach wants to compete against a Roy Williams or Coach K or the ACC on a nightly basis. Calipari (WAY too much scandal for my tastes anyway)didnt want to. Sid is building what Roy and Coach K have. Legacy. And you cant build a legacy in 4 years.

Anonymous said...

FYI - Don't forget the 74 championship team built with David Thompson....I doubt they were considered an "underdog".

DMoore said...

El Sid will never win as much as Herb. Period. He's simply not as good a coach.

Herb could never meet the expectations of the fan base for that job. One, he was boring. At a school whose only great memories center around Valvano and David Thompson, they want excitement even more than they want wins. Second, he correctly assessed that that he would not be able to recruit enough great players to beat Carolina and Duke on talent. So, he recruited players that would fit a system that could compete with less talent but better execution. It was the right strategy to get wins, but the fans wanted a team that they felt was better than their rivals. Herb's teams wouldn't have the talent to look more impressive, even if they were a team that would win more games.

Anonymous said...

Duke, Maryland, Va Tech in...

Who else, honestly?

Wake maybe. GT, eh.!