Anyone expecting clarity pretty much got none of that this weekend, as Virginia knocked off UNC, Florida State pummeled Notre Dame, and Pitt defeated Duke (not to mention Miami's win over Louisville). So we are left with a regular season title and an all-important double-bye that will likely not be decided until Saturday's season finales.
UNC remains the title favorite, with Miami, Virginia, and Louisville still very much alive, especially the Hurricanes who are deadlocked with the Tar Heels in the loss column. Notre Dame is still in position for that last double-bye, with Duke ready to pounce and Pitt and Clemson right behind them should both the Irish and Blue Devils pick up another loss.
So here are the updated ACC standings through Monday's games, with everyone finishing their regular season on Saturday :
|ACC Standings (3/1/2016)
*Virginia holds tiebreaker over Louisville (head-to-head record)
**Notre Dame holds tiebreaker over Duke (head-to-head record)
***Clemson holds tiebreaker over Pitt (head-to-head record)
North Carolina, (This week: 3/5 @ Duke) with their win last night, has the opportunity to clinch the regular season title on Saturday in Durham, taking on their arch-rival Duke. They will have their work cut out for them, however, as Duke already beat the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill earlier this season. Though the Heels own the tiebreaker over 2nd place Miami, Virginia can mess things up for them if all three finish at 13 wins.
Miami (This week: 3/2 @ ND, 3/5 @ VT) keeps earning big wins and has won 7 of their last 8 overall. They are now firmly in the top ten nationally, competing for a top overall NCAA seed. That said, their schedule has been home-heavy, so they finish with two tough road games against two teams that have combined for just three home conference losses on the season.
Definitely a what-could-have-been type of week for Louisville (This week: 3/1 vs. GT, 3/5 @ Virginia) as they collapsed down the stretch against Miami, scoring just one field goal in the final five minutes and turning a 4-point lead into an 8-point loss that could've really turned the tide for their regular season title hopes. A tough season-finale awaits.
Virginia (This week: 3/1 @ Clemson, 3/5 vs. Louisville) picked up a huge win over UNC to stay in the ACC title and NCAA 1-seed races but have a tough week ahead, going to Clemson who has only lost once at home and hosting a Louisville team that will surely be going down swinging in its last game. The Cavaliers remain surprisingly under-the-radar as a national title favorite. A three-way tie between UNC, Miami, and Virginia by Saturday's end would mean a three-peat for the Cavs.
Terrible weekend for Notre Dame (This week: 3/2 vs. Miami, 3/5 vs. NC State) and Duke (3/1 vs. Wake, 3/5 vs. UNC), as both were pummeled on the road by desperate teams behind them in the standings. It's no longer a two-team race for the last double-bye if these two can't defend their home court this week.
And out of nowhere, Pittsburgh (This week: 3/2 @ VT, 3/5 @ GT) suddenly has a great shot at the double-bye with their win over Duke on Sunday. The Panthers have the tiebreaker over both Duke and Notre Dame, but they likely need a road sweep this week.
Clemson (This week: 3/1 vs. Virginia, 3/5 @ BC) still finds itself in the race for the last double-bye as well but faces an unlikely road to get there, even with an all-but-guaranteed win waiting for them in Boston. They need to defend their home court, where they have only lost in conference play to Notre Dame, against Virginia to give themselves a chance.
Syracuse (This week: 3/5 @ FSU) will have a fight on their hands to stay .500 in conference on the road at Florida State on Saturday. If they fall to just 9-9, with some pretty bad non-conference losses on their resume as well, are they really that safe for a tourney bid? They might have work to do in DC.
Virginia Tech (This week: 3/2 vs. Pitt, 3/5 vs. Miami) went on the road and took care of the conference's two bottom-feeders this week to get to .500 in ACC play. A split this week gives them an unthinkable 9-9 record after three straight years coming in last place in the conference. Would a win on Saturday tip the Coach of the Year race in Buzz's favor over Jim Larranaga? Probably not, but maybe it should?
Georgia Tech (This week: 3/1 @ Louisville, 3/5 vs. Pitt) stayed hot and ran its win streak to four games this week. A .500 conference record is suddenly within reach, but they would need a minor miracle to get there with a tough road game against Louisville tonight, let alone a difficult game against Pitt in the finale.
Florida State (This week: 3/5 vs. Syracuse) snapped a five-game losing streak that essentially popped its NCAA Tournament bubble with a dominant home victory over Notre Dame. They get a week to recharge their batteries and close out their regular season with another home win, albeit with relatively little to play for.
NC State (This week: 3/2 vs. BC, 3/5 @ ND) was looking tough for awhile there but has suffered some losses to quality teams that weren't really all that close. The Wolfpack will likely be able to pick up another win Wednesday night against BC but have a tall order awaiting in their finale in South Bend.
Wake Forest (This week: 3/1 @ Duke) kept things close in both of their games this week in Winston-Salem but ultimately fell short each time. The Deacons are locked into a 14th place finish but have one more chance tonight to make a little bit of noise in a season that went way further off the rails than anyone really expected.
Boston College (This week: 3/2 @ NC State, 3/5 vs. Clemson) lost all of its games this week (and is now just two games away from history - bad, bad history).