ACC Bracket Watch: March 8 Update

Posted by Chris Kehoe on March 8th, 2014

A lot can change in the world of college hoops as it relates to the NCAA Tournament, and recently, a lot has. Since the last update we did in early February, Syracuse is no longer undefeated; Virginia is the regular season champion; and UNC has embarked on a mind-boggling winning streak. While the top tier of the ACC has become even more clear since Pittsburgh fell off the face of the Earth, most of the ACC bubble teams living in the #7-#10 seed range have largely disappointed on their way to the outside looking in — surely perennial bubbler and current ESPN personality Seth Greenberg can relate from his ACC days. But while tallies in the loss column have mounted high enough for Syracuse and Duke to be largely removed from #1 seed consideration, Virginia has quietly pushed itself into the discussion. The Cavaliers find themselves in this position thanks to its 16 conference wins and the startling point differential in which they secured them.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett must be ecstatic with the Cavaliers' most recent bracket projection (photo: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Virginia coach Tony Bennett must be ecstatic with the Cavaliers’ most recent bracket projection (photo: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

So while North Carolina and Virginia’s stocks are soaring, Syracuse and Duke have taken a hit. It remains to be seen if the ACC can land a bid outside of its top four programs, but at this juncture it seems improbable. Since the last update, Florida State and Pittsburgh have both fallen into a steep decline. Jamie Dixon’s team remains close, residing in and around most people’s ‘Last Four Out’ category, but the Seminoles are nowhere to be found. N.C. State also created some February rumblings about making a run at the bubble until the Wolfpack lost badly to Clemson and Miami in a period of two weeks. The ACC Tournament provides the sole venue for teams seeking an automatic bid, but a team running through the slate of Syracuse, UNC, Virginia and/or Duke seems rather daunting at this point.

‘Busting the Bracket’ Projected ACC Seeding*

 Virginia Cavaliers, 25-5 (16-1 ACC)

  • Seed line: #2
  • Wins versus the field: (4) Syracuse, SMU, UNC, Davidson
  • Notable losses: Green Bay, Wisconsin, Duke, Tennessee, VCU

Syracuse Orange, 26-4 (13-4)

  • Seed line: #3
  • Wins versus the field: (5) Duke, UNC, California, Baylor, Villanova
  • Notable losses: Duke, Virginia, Boston College, Georgia Tech

 Duke Blue Devils, 23-7 (12-5)

  • Seed line: #3
  • Wins versus the field: (6) Syracuse, Virginia, UCLA, Michigan, Davidson, Vermont
  • Notable losses: Syracuse, UNC, Arizona, Kansas, Notre Dame, Clemson, Wake Forest

 North Carolina Tar Heels, 23-7 (13-4)

  • Seed line: # 5
  • Wins versus the field: (5) Duke, Davidson, Michigan State, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Notable losses: Syracuse, Virginia, Texas, UAB, Miami (FL), Wake Forest, Belmont

*Instead of using ESPN’s Bracketology (Joe Lunardi), it has been noted by Bracket Matrix that Lunardi and another well-known and much used bracket aficionado, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm, rank relatively low (35th and 38th) in terms of average bracket predictions. Instead, this projection will utilize the work of CBS’ Jeff Borzello, who is ranked fourth overall thanks to his consistent work since 2006.

Christopher Kehoe (42 Posts)

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