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ACC Weekly Roundup: Pittsburgh-Miami Could Determine Top Seed in Tourney

UNC, Duke Look to Improve March Madness Resumes

Just when it looks like a team is ready to take control in the ACC race, things happen – like Pittsburgh’s loss to Notre Dame and a recent loss by Miami to Florida State. Now Miami, Pittsburgh and Virginia are tied atop the ACC standings.

Even though neither team is ranked, a North Carolina and Duke matchup is always a big deal and on Saturday it will be about improving their NCAA NET ranking. Duke is looking for a better seeding in the March Madness bracket white North Carolina just wants to get into the field of 68.

Isaiah Wong #2 of the Miami Hurricanes dribbles against Jamarius Burton #11 of the Pittsburgh Panthers
Isaiah Wong #2 of the Miami Hurricanes dribbles against Jamarius Burton #11 of the Pittsburgh Panthers | Justin berl/getty images/afp

If the Tar Heels get into the field, it will be interesting how the March Madness expert picks view the team that played in last year’s national title game.

That is not the most noteworthy ACC game of the weekend. That honor goes to Miami and Pittsburgh with the top seed in the upcoming ACC tournament on the line when they meet up in Coral Gables.

According to the March Madness predictions, Miami (+4000), Virginia (+5000) and Duke (+500) have the best odds to win the national title.

There are no teams from the ACC in the top 20 in the NCAA NET rankings so it is possible that no teams from the conference will earn top 16 seeds when the March Madness bracket comes out.

Here’s a look at the best games this week in the ACC.

Let’s check the latest college basketball news, stats, injury reports, and college basketball lines. We’ve got plenty of NCAA basketball picks for you to consider.

1. Duke

  • Record: 22-8 (13-6 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 23
  • Remaining schedule: at North Carolina (Saturday)

Duke can’t finish with the top seed for the ACC tournament. However, a win over the rivals Tar Heels would help when it comes time to finalize the March Madness bracket. It won’t hurt to have the top NCAA NET ranking among the ACC teams even if it has been a down year in the conference.

Duke is getting hot at the perfect time with five straight wins and an overtime loss to Virginia or else it would be six straight victories. With a freshman-laden roster, a winning streak will provide a boost of confidence.

Tyrese Proctor has scored in double digits in three straight games with fellow freshman Dereck Lively also playing his best basketball right now.

2. Virginia

  • Record: 22-6 (14-5 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 30
  • Remaining schedule: vs Louisville (Saturday)

It is hard to know what to expect from this Virginia team that has spent time ranked in the top 10 in the national polls.

The Cavaliers followed up a stunning 15-point loss at Boston College by falling to North Carolina in the next game.

The defense is solid as usual for Virginia. However, the offense is the big question mark heading into the postseason. Look for the Cavaliers to be a popular choice when it comes to the March Madness picks.

3. Miami

  • Record: 23-6 (14-5 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 35
  • Remaining schedule: vs Pittsburgh (Saturday)

Miami has split personalities as the Hurricanes can play with any of the top teams in the country while struggling to beat teams in the bottom half of the conference. Squandering a 25-point lead at home to Florida State is a perfect example of how things have gone this season. Still, the sportsbook has Miami as the top ACC team in the national title odds.

Miami could roll to the ACC tournament or go out in the first round. Getting a chance to square off with ACC co-leader Pittsburgh on Saturday could be the best way to get going in March and a win could give the Hurricanes the top seed in the tournament.

4. North Carolina State

  • Record: 22-9 (12-8 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 41

North Carolina State is very much on the bubble despite winning 12 conference games. The NET ranking isn’t strong enough to guarantee an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolfpack should be well rested with its last game of the regular season being a three-point loss at Duke on Feb. 28.

Any team with Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner needs to be taken seriously come tournament time.

5. North Carolina

  • Record: 19-11 (11-8 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 45
  • Remaining schedule: vs Duke (Saturday)

With four starters back from a team that reached the national title game, North Carolina began the season as the No. 1 team in both national polls and the favorite to win the national title according to the odds to win March Madness.

However, North Carolina still has some work to do just to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. A win over Duke would be a huge boost as would a couple of wins in the ACC tournament.

6. Pittsburgh

  • Record: 21-9 (14-5 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 55
  • Remaining schedule: at Miami (Saturday)

Does anybody want the No. 1 seed in the upcoming ACC tournament? Pittsburgh is the latest contender to suffer a stunning loss as the Panthers lost at Notre Dame despite being listed by the Las Vegas odds as a 2½-point favorite.

How often are there questions about whether the first-place team in the ACC heading into the final weekend of the regular season will get a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Pittsburgh was picked to finish 14th in the preseason ACC poll so it has been quite the season for the Panthers. A win over Miami would give the Panthers at least a share of the ACC regular-season title and it would do wonders for the Panthers’ NET ranking as well.

Pittsburgh leads the ACC with a 20-9-1 record against the NCAA odds.

7. Clemson

  • Record: 21-9 (13-6 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 64
  • Remaining schedule: vs Notre Dame (Saturday)

Clemson has cooled off after a tremendous start to the season that had the Tigers on top of the ACC standings.

A loss to Louisville has to be considered one of the worst results of any of the teams from Power-5 conferences in contention for a spot in the March Madness bracket. Clemson did go into North Carolina State and rolled to a 25-point victory and that will look good to the selection committee.

The Tigers will need to take care of business against a Notre Dame team that is just playing out the season. Clemson is tied with Wake Forest for the ACC lead with 19 of their games going over the college basketball betting lines total.

8. Virginia Tech

  • Record: 17-13 (7-12 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 70
  • Remaining schedule: vs Florida State (Saturday)

Other than winning the ACC tournament, there will be no NCAA Tournament appearance for the Hokies.

A win over Virginia is proof that the Hokies can play with anybody and there is also a recent victory against Pittsburgh. However, Virginia Tech lost back-to-back games to Miami and Duke before rebounding against Louisville.

9. Wake Forest

  • Record: 18-12 (10-9 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 86
  • Remaining schedule: at Syracuse (Saturday)

A win over Syracuse would allow the Demon Deacons to finish two games over .500 in the ACC standings. That won’t matter when it comes to a potential at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Wake Forest could very well get into the 8-9 game in the ACC tournament and that might result in a short stay in the tourney.

10. Syracuse

  • Record: 16-14 (9-10 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 131
  • Remaining schedule: vs Wake Forest (Saturday)

Syracuse is another team that endured a difficult season. A victory on Saturday would allow the Orange to end up at .500 in the ACC. The NET number is pretty dreadful so anything shy of winning the ACC tournament will keep Syracuse from another NCAA Tournament appearance for veteran coach Jim Boeheim.

Syracuse has lost four games in a row and the games haven’t exactly been nail-biters with defeats by 22 points to Duke, to Clemson by 18, to Pittsburgh by 17 and to Georgia Tech by 20.

11. Boston College

  • Record: 15-15 (9-10 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 158
  • Remaining schedule: vs Georgia Tech (Saturday)

A win over Virginia has been the highlight for another mediocre season for Boston College. The Eagles do have three wins over ranked teams so perhaps they can pull off an upset in the ACC tournament. It seems unlikely that a sustained tournament run is in the cards for the Eagles.

12. Notre Dame

  • Record: 11-19 (3-16 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 180
  • Remaining schedule: at Clemson (Saturday)

Mike Brey’s time at the helm of the Notre Dame program is coming to an end. His players gave him quite the going-away gift with a win over Pittsburgh in Brey’s final home game as Notre Dame’s head coach.

The Fighting Irish snapped a seven-game losing streak as Marcus Hammond and Cormac Ryan had 20 points each.

If Notre Dame loses to Clemson, it will end the season with no road victories.

Nate Laszewski hung around for five years and he has done what he can to keep Notre Dame in games. However, the offensive support hasn’t always been there.

13. Georgia Tech

  • Record: 13-17 (5-14 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 190
  • Remaining schedule: at Boston College (Saturday)

Georgia Tech has won back-to-back games after a 20-point win at Syracuse as Javon Franklin had a triple-double with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Yellow Jackets will look to make it three games in a row when they play at BC on Saturday before getting ready for the conference tournament.

14. Florida State

  • Record: 9-21 (7-12 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 219
  • Remaining schedule: at Virginia Tech (Saturday)

Florida State would love to see Miami in the ACC tournament since a recent victory over the Hurricanes is the only win in seven meetings against ranked teams.

Matthew Cleveland has made tremendous strides from his freshman to sophomore seasons, but he hasn’t always had too much help.

15. Louisville

  • Record: 4-26 (2-17 ACC)
  • NCAA NET Ranking: 309
  • Remaining schedule: at Virginia (Saturday)

The good news is that the season is almost over for Louisville.

The Cardinals had back-to-back games when they fell to Virginia by just three points and then rolled past Clemson to provide rare highlights in a difficult season.

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