Monday, February 13, 2012

The ACC coming off of turn 4....

The ACC race is actually a race, and not because it's coming down to North Carolina and Duke. It's a race because it's UNC, Duke AND Florida State!

I have no allegiances here, but the ACC is better when there is another team in the mix not named UNC or Duke.

While Tar Heel fans were down (and frankly stunned) when Duke took the first meeting last Wednesday, those that remained on the ledge were talked back in after the Heels took care of a very good Virginia team. Carolina will be fine, and the season finale in Durham could end up being another classic.

With about a month left in the basketball regular season (three weeks, really), I am going to put a minimum of 4 ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament. They are UNC, Duke, FSU and Virginia. NC State still has work to do, in my opinion, to punch their ticket. That work involves adding to their ACC win total. Nine wins in the ACC will be enough for the Wolfpack, and they sit at 7. To me, an over .500 record in league play will do the trick. The ACC is not the dominant league like it was in yesteryear, but it is up from where it was. I also think Miami has an outside shot, but like NC State, they have work to do, and just 6 games left to do it.

As for the top seed in the ACC Tournament, here's what the top three teams have ahead of them:

Duke: v. NCSU, @ Boston College, @ FSU, v. Va Tech, @ Wake, v. UNC
UNC: @ Miami, v. Clemson, @ NCSU, @ Virginia, v. Maryland, @ Duke
FSU: @ NCSU, v. VT, v. Duke, @ Miami, @ Virginia, v. Clemson

Biggest remaining games are Duke at FSU, UNC at Duke and FSU @ NC State. The FSU-NCSU game is big for both teams. An NCSU win gets them no worse than .500 in league play. FSU needs it to keep pace with the Heels and Devils.

There will be plenty of action to set up the seeds in Atlanta, and my advice to hoop fans everywhere is simple. Enjoy the ride.

Mike Solarte

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