Despite the ACC being considered down the past few seasons, the teams that have made the NCAA tournament have had major success. Duke and North Carolina played each other in the Final Four two seasons ago, and Miami (FL) made a Final Four run last season. But with the ACC currently only having three teams projected to make the field of 68, they might not get a chance to make a run. However, there is plenty of opportunity to get more schools in, but which teams will make that leap?
Which ACC teams Will Make The NCAA Tournament?
The ACC used to be considered one of the best conferences in the country. In 2019, just 5 years ago, they had 7 teams make the NCAA tournament. Five of these teams were top 4 seeds, and Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina were all a 1 seed. Compared to that season, the conference looks mediocre today. Now, besides Duke and UNC, the ACC has no other safe bets to make the NCAA tournament. There are several teams just outside the field though, and many others still have an opportunity to play their way in. Can the ACC get 4 or 5 teams in, or will it be up to Duke and North Carolina to represent the conference?
Locks- Duke, North Carolina
Duke and North Carolina are safe bets to make the NCAA tournament this season, like almost every season. They can’t lose every game the rest of the year and get in, but they won’t due to true star players like RJ Davis and Kyle Filipowski. Both these teams are likely to only lose a few more games this season, possibly to each other. They aren’t just trying to get in but will compete for a National Title as well.
Eliminated- Louisville, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech
The only way these teams make the NCAA tournament this season is a miracle run to win the ACC tournament. They all currently have losing records and are ranked outside the top 100 in the NET. So while they aren’t technically eliminated until they lose in the conference tournament, don’t expect them to get in.
On the Bubble
Currently In- Clemson
Clemson is currently in due to their stellar non-conference play. They have wins over Alabama, South Carolina, and TCU who are all tournament teams. They were ranked as high as #13 in the country and entered conference play ranked #16. Since then, they have not impressed. They are 3-5 in the ACC with no wins over the top teams. It looked like they might compete for an ACC regular season title, now they have to prove they are worthy of just making the NCAA tournament.
Currently Out- Virginia, Wake Forest, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech
All of these teams are currently out but have good opportunities to play their way in. Virginia, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech all have good metrics, being ranked in the top 50 in the NET. A big win over Duke or North Carolina might be all they need to get on the other side of the bubble.
Miami can also easily play its way in, if anything because of their preseason hype. They were ranked #8 in the country after starting 5-0 entering a contest against Kentucky in the ACC-SEC challenge. They got blown out and haven’t looked the same since, with a loss to Louisville being their low point. However, if they can avoid losses to teams besides Duke and Carolina, and maybe knock them off one time, they should play their way into the NCAA tournament.
Pittsburgh, Syracuse, NC State, Florida State, Boston College
These teams are all far enough from making the tournament that they shouldn’t be considered true bubble teams. However, it isn’t impossible for one of these teams to play their way in. Pittsburgh and Boston College both had a solid enough non-conference. They didn’t lose to any awful teams, but also didn’t have any quality wins. They haven’t impressed in conference play either so far, besides Pitt’s win at Duke. So while it is unlikely for those two to get in, it is not impossible if they get a couple of big wins and finish conference play strong.
Syracuse, NC State, and Florida St. all have slightly better resumes and chances to get into the NCAA tournament than the previous two schools. The Orange and the Wolfpack don’t have any bad losses, but also no marquee wins. Each has had ample opportunity as well, they haven’t played easy schedules. If they want to get in, they need to continue to dominate outside of quad 1. They now have little chance to get a quad 1 win in the ACC, and will likely need one to get into the NCAA tournament.
Florida St. is a different story though. They started this season badly, with three losses in quad 3. However they have been good in ACC play, their only losses coming to Clemson and North Carolina. They also pushed North Carolina to the edge in both games, nearly getting a huge win. But, those three quad 3 losses are extremely hurtful to Florida State’s chances. They will most likely need to be nearly perfect to have a true NCAA tournament resume, and even then, it’s doubtful they would get in.
So, Who will Get in?
The only teams currently in the NCAA tournament are Duke, North Carolina, and Clemson. Expect each of them to remain in the field, and probably move up a few seed lines in the process. Given how many other teams are on the bubble, only a couple have the capability of playing their way in due to cannibalization of each other. The three that have the best chances are Virginia, Wake Forest, and Miami (FL). Wake Forest is the best team out of this group and should get in. They have a win over Miami and Virginia. They also get Duke twice, and if they win one of them it should boost them in easily. Virginia and Miami (FL) is a toss-up and might come down to their one game against each other to decide which team can or will get in.
So, the teams that should make the NCAA tournament in the ACC are Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, and either Virginia or Miami (FL). The first four will almost surely get in, while the last two are debatable. Either way, it’s still another down year for the ACC, which is becoming a recurring problem. Can they get another Final Four run despite this, is yet to be seen.