It’s been a very strange year for the ACC. Typically one of the top leagues in the country, their are currently only four teams projected in the bracket according to the web’s collective bracketologists.
Three of those four teams are in the top 11 of this week’s AP poll, with #7 Duke and #6 Florida State both in action on the road today. (Louisville is the third, at #11.) And, because the ACC is weird, both Duke and FSU went down, at Virginia and Clemson respectively.
The earlier game between Clemson-FSU featured a wild ending, with Florida State taking a one-point lead with seconds remaining, only for Clemson’s Al-Amir Dawes to go coast-to-coast for the game-winner.
🗣️ @CLEMSONMBB GETS IT DONE
The Tigers take down the No. 6 team in the country on a last-second layup. pic.twitter.com/Twcxci8G92
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) February 29, 2020
Duke’s loss was a traditional rock fight at Tony Bennett’s Virginia. The Cavaliers lost a lot from their national championship winning team last year, but they’ve felt those losses almost exclusively on the offensive end. They have a massive disparity in defensive and offensive efficiency; according to KenPom, after tonight’s 52-50 win over Duke, Virginia has the #2 rated defense and the #220 rated offense in the nation.
That was borne out in how they hung on, with center Jay Huff coming up with massive block after massive block down the stretch.
Jay Huff had TEN blocks in Virginia's upset against No. 7 Duke 😳🚫
— ESPN (@espn) March 1, 2020
Virginia is currently the 4th ACC team projected to make the dance, and that’s not a team anyone would really want to face early in the tournament. They’re well-coached, obviously, and still have a lot of experienced players from last year’s run, albeit without some of their top-end talent. (It’s not a direct comparison, but it does feel a bit like Butler’s second title game team, which lost Gordon Hayward and some other important players, struggled a bit to adjust during the regular season, and then made a run as an 8-seed the next year.)
Just a typical day in the ACC, which looks guaranteed to not have a team on the #1 line, and increasingly like having a team on the #2 line could be tough.
Oh, and as for Louisville: they lost earlier this week to Florida State. So who the hell knows what’s going to happen!