Now that ACC contests are dwindling to a precious few (precious for fans, certainly, and for TV purveyors, though not necessarily for certain suffering coaches), we get a decent sense of the separation between the league’s powers and its huddled masses yearning to dribble free.
One thing that jumps out immediately: apart from and above the mid-league competitive turmoil, there are four clear haves in 2020. All are immediately listed when projections of the NCAA field are offered.
Three include programs among the ACC’s elite for the preponderance of the previous decade – Duke, Florida State and Virginia. For a while it didn’t appear the Cavs would get there again, but through Feb. 23 they already were among the quartet with double-figure ACC wins.
Louisville, which has haunted first place in 2020, rounds out the top four. The Cardinals only joined the ACC six seasons ago. They’ve finished second twice and fourth once during that span. This is their best showing under the guidance of Chris Mack, their third coach since 2017.
On the flip side a third of the league had failed to notch a victory against the top four with a week remaining in February: Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. The Hurricanes, Tar Heels and Fighting Irish are accustomed to better; the Hokies not so much. Wake? Need you ask?
Among the lower-echelon, only Virginia Tech, with a visit from archrival UVa and a trip to Louisville, has two shots left to bolster its resume for come what may.
The top four ACC clubs lost 15 times within the conference through late February. Seven of those defeats came against each other (.467 percent). UVa had five losses within the league, two more than its upper-echelon colleagues.
Four squads each notched at least a pair of wins against the top four: Clemson, Florida State, Louisville and NC State. On the dark side of the coin, short-handed Miami fell three times each to Duke, FSU and UL, with a visit yet to come from improving Virginia.
Also of note: Nine of the leaders’ 15 ACC defeats were incurred on the road (.600), including both of Florida State’s stumbles and Louisville’s. FSU is the only conference team that’s yet to lose at home this season. Leonard Hamilton’s unit dropped just one game in Tallahassee in 2019; that was against Duke, which doesn’t come to the Tucker Center in 2020.
|WHICH WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED ACC
Records Against Top Four Teams in League
(Asterisk Indicates Among Four Best, Through Feb. 24)
|School||Top 4 W||Top 4 L||Top 4 Remaining|
|BC||V||D(2), UL, V||None|
|C||D, UL||V||@ FS 2/29|
|D*||FS||UL||@ V 2/29|
|FS*||UL(2), V||V, D||None|
|GT||UL||FS. D, V, UL||None|
|UL*||D,V||FS(2)||@ V 3/7|
|UMi||None||UL(2), D(2), FS(2)||V 3/4|
|NC||None||FS, D, V, UL||None|
|NS||V, D||UL, FS||@D 3/2|
|ND||None||UL, FS, D||FS 3/4|
|UP||FS||UL, D, FS, V||None|
|SU||V||V, D, FS, UL||None|
|V*||FS||FS, UL||D 2/29, UL 3/7|
|VT||None||D(2),V, FS||V 2/26, UL 3/1|
|WF||None||FS, D, V, UL||D 2/25|