Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 Men's College Basketball Conference Tournament Probabilities: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Part 27 of a 30 part series. Using Sagarin's Predictor ratings in a prediction formula, I'll weigh the probability of each conference team in each possible tournament matchup and through a Markov chain determine their chances of winning the tournament.

We are now down to the last of the major conferences. This series will be done after tonight and all that's left is to watch the tourneys and see how they play out.

The ACC is one of college basketball's strongest conferences in a down year, with 6-7 likely tournament teams among the field. But like the Big 12 the field will be at the mercy of one big dog: The Duke Blue Devils. Duke is a 63.8% odds on favorite to win, with no one all that close to catching them. #2 Maryland, at 13 to 2, is the 2nd most likely team to win the ACC and the only team at under 14 to 1 to win.

With North Carolina down this year and such a muddled ACC field that Florida State and Virginia Tech have first round byes, Coach K's kids have no excuses. The only reasonable outcome for them is to win out and clinch a #1 seed in the NCAAs.

All that said, let's see where the potential tourney teams stand and what they need to do in the ACC tourney to improve their position.

#2 Maryland: Pretty much a #4 seed in the NCAAs barring an amazing development. Amazing developments include laying a quarterfinal egg against Georgia Tech or North Carolina, getting chop blocked in the semis or finals by some freak ACC Cinderella run, and beating Duke in the final to win the ACC Tournament outright. Anything inbetween is reasonable and shouldn't adversely affect their possible seeding. A run to the finals could get them a #3. Anything higher and the committee's in the bag.

#3 Florida State: Rare is the year FSU is a serious contender, but they're probably a #7 even if they fall in the quarters after their bye (Clemson would be favored if the Tigers won their opening round game to meet FSU). They could sneak a #6 seed if they face and knock off Clemson, then give at least an admirable effort in defeat in the semis. If Duke falls, there is a reasonable chance they could win the whole thing, and that of course would boost them farther.

#4 Virginia Tech: Repeat what I said about FSU contending for VT. Tech basketball just isn't supposed to do well, let alone get 1st round byes in the ACC tourney. VT is in the driver's seta for an #8 seed provided they at least play a close game with the winner of Wake Forest and Miami. A win will at least seal that, and they're probably facing Duke in the semis so not much to prognosticate beyond that.

#5 Wake Forest: Amidst a down year like many other big time programs, Wake is probably a #9 or #10 this year, but should be in unless they get somehow humilated. They're a favorite to beat Miami in the opening round, and getting a win before bowing to Virginia Tech isn't too bad or unreasonable an outcome.

#6 Clemson: Always a scrappy contender, Clemson's on the bcak end of a #6 seed right now and looking at a #7 unless they give a strong showing, which means beating NC State in the opening round and at the least taking Florida State to the wire in the quarters if they're going to lose. Winning that game would be nice. As with the others, Duke taking an early upset loss would upgrade their ACC title chances to 'fairly possible' and that could probably get them a #4 or #5.

#7 Georgia Tech: The one ACC team on the bubble, the Yellow Jackets have a difficult first round matchup vs a North Carolina team with their backs to the wall. GT has to win this game to stay out of bubble trouble. A win after the first round is unlikely, but unnecessary. They are probably a #10 or #11 provided they get in.

Anyone not mentioned is on the outside looking in, and nowhere close to qualifying at-large. Anyone not named Virginia is an NIT candidate (Virginia's only chance at the CBI-level tourneys is to reach the semis, and given they're a 30 to 1 shot to reach the semis, good luck to that). If Boston College loses in the first round, though, no NIT for them: They'd be 15-16 in D-I play and losing records are dealbreakers.

NC State is 17-14 but being 71 in the Sagarin ratings indicates they may be on the NIT bubble. UNC and Miami, however, are definitely in the NIT if they choose to play.

Chance of upsetting Duke in a head-to-head matchup:

Maryland: 24.1%
Florida State: 18.2%
Virginia Tech: 13.4%
Wake Forest: 14.9%
Clemson: 20.5%
Georgia Tech: 15.2%
Boston College: 8.4%
Virginia: 7.1%
North Carolina: 11.3%
NC State: 8.9%
Miami-Fla: 9.7%

Here are the ACC odds for every team involved:

1. Duke: 63.8%
2. Maryland: 6.7 to 1
3. Florida State: 14.2 to 1
4. Virginia Tech: 28 to 1
5. Wake Forest: 37.2 to 1
6. Clemson: 16.3 to 1
7. Georgia Tech: 44.5 to 1
8. Boston College: 210.5 to 1
9. Virginia: 385.4 to 1
10. North Carolina: 123.2 to 1
11. NC State: 269.3 to 1
12. Miami-Fla: 157.1 to 1

Next: The Big Ten

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