ACC in NCAA: Getting In

Much has been made about the ACC only receiving 4 bids to this year’s NCAA Tournament, and VPI coach Seth Greenberg certainly attempted to make the case for his team being included as the fifth.  As Virginia fans everywhere pointed out, he erroneously politicked on the grounds of top 65 (total number of bids including guaranteed) status, rather than top 34 (at-large bids) status.

     

VPI finished the season with an RPI ranking of #52 and a regular-season ACC record of 9-7.  8-8 Miami (#34 RPI) received a bid, while 8-8 Maryland (#85) did not.  Greenberg had to have felt his victory over Miami and near-miss against top overall seed UNC in the ACC Tournament strengthened his case.

History suggests that the 9-7 in-conference may have been enough.  Last year, when the ACC had the top RPI rankings among conferences (as they did again this year), 7 bids were extended.  All teams with double-digit regular-season ACC win totals (5) received bids, just as they did this year (3).  Both 8-8 Duke (#15 RPI) and 8-8 Georgia Tech (#52) received invitations, despite neither winning an ACC Tournament game.

One area that certainly didn’t help Greenberg’s cause was VPI’s nonconference schedule.  In Saturday’s Washington Post, John Feinstein brought this to light in his column entitled “If You’re Not 1 of 65, Please Don’t Whine”:

Check out some of Virginia Tech’s nonconference games: Elon, Eastern Washington, UNC Asheville (a decent team but the game was, of course, at Cassell Coliseum), UNC Greensboro, Liberty, Charleston Southern. Heck, maybe Greenberg should have demanded a bid as the Big South champion. Take out those games and Virginia Tech was 13-13.

Virginia Tech’s non-conference strength of schedule is ranked 137th nationally using the RPI methodology, but that is still higher than Miami (143), Clemson (183), NC State (202), Virginia (216), Wake Forest (264).  Wake’s OOC slate included home games with Fairfield, NC Central, Winston Salem State, South Carolina Upstate, Bucknell, South Florida, Air Force, and Presbyterian.  Feinstein also points this out about Duke:

Here’s another stat for you: Duke, which clearly wasn’t a bubble team, played zero nonconference games on an opponent’s true home court. It did play Temple at Wachovia Center and Davidson at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, but true nonconference road games? Zero.

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