NCAA Tournament Instareaction: ACC TeamsPosted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 12th, 2017
The ACC received nine bids to the NCAA Tournament today, as the Selection Committee rewarded one of the league’s two bubble teams with Wake Forest making the field over Syracuse and its 2-10 record away from the Carrier Dome. Another big question going into today was whether regular season champion North Carolina or ACC Tournament winner Duke would get a #1 seed? The Tar Heels, on the strength of their regular season work, ultimately got the nod from the committee. Here are some quick best- and worst-case scenarios for each of the nine ACC teams in the field.
North Carolina (#1 South)
- Best Case: The Tar Heels’ size and experience results in another appearance in the National Championship game with a chance for the school’s sixth national title.
- Worst Case: North Carolina has another bad shooting night away from the Smith Center against an opponent (e.g., Butler) that will not allow the Heels to dominate the offensive glass.
Duke (#2 East)
- Best Case: Duke builds on its current momentum all the way to Phoenix, giving Coach K a shot at his sixth National Championship.
- Worst Case: On a day when Duke’s threes are not falling, the Blue Devils get picked off in the Second Round by South Carolina, which benefits from a friendly local crowd in Greenville.
Louisville (#2 Midwest)
- Best Case: Louisville’s defense overwhelms its foes and the Cardinals hit enough shots to get Rick Pitino back to the Final Four for a chance at his second title at the school and third overall.
- Worst Case: The threes and free throws don’t connect for the Cardinals and they can’t get turnovers against a hot Michigan or Oklahoma State squad in the Second Round.
Notre Dame (#5 West)
- Best Case: Notre Dame’s experience in so many close ACC games enables them to upset #1 seed Gonzaga and reach the Elite Eight for the third straight year.
- Worst Case: The Fighting Irish are off target from behind the arc and are upset in the First Round by a very capable Princeton team.
Florida State (#3 West)
- Best Case: The Seminoles avoid teams that can control tempo, using their depth and pace to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1972.
- Worst Case: Florida State once again comes out flat in a game away from Tallahassee and goes down to a game Maryland or Xavier team in the Second Round.
Virginia (#5 East)
- Best Case: Virginia’s pack line defense stifles opponents on the way to another Elite Eight appearance. Remember that the Cavaliers played very well in an earlier meeting with #1 seed Villanova in Philadelphia last month, and may get another shot at the Wildcats in the Sweet Sixteen.
- Worst Case: The Cavaliers’ spotty offense doesn’t click against first round opponent UNC-Wilmington – a very dangerous #12 seed that gave Duke a scare in last year’s opening round.
Miami (FL) (#8 South)
- Best Case: Miami’s experience against all of the ACC heavyweights prepares it for an upset of #1 seed Kansas in the Second Round.
- Worst Case: The Hurricanes can’t get past Michigan State in the First Round. Izzo’s track record in the NCAA Tournament — last season notwithstanding — is excellent.
Virginia Tech (#9 East)
- Best Case: Virginia Tech upsets #1 seed Villanova in the Second Round with a barrage of three-pointers to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
- Worst Case: The smaller Hokies get beat up in the paint and fall to an experienced Wisconsin team that most feel are under-seeded at #8.
Wake Forest (First Four – #11 East)
- Best Case: John Collins is too tough to handle in the post, allowing the Demon Deacons to beat Kansas State in Dayton before taking out Cincinnati in the Second Round.
- Worst Case: Wake Forest is not ready for the big stage and reverts back to early-season form when the Deacs made so many key mistakes in endgame situations and lose in Dayton.