ACC race coming down to the wire

Duke got a big win on Saturday against Virginia Tech to stay alive in the race for the conference championship. They host a good Florida State team on Tuesday before their showdown next Sunday at North Carolina. The Tar Heels travel to VT on Wednesday. The Blue Devils are one game back, so a pair of wins to close the regular season would give Duke at least a share of the ACC championship. Most pundits have written Duke off for a #1 seed, but if they were to win out and then win the ACC tournament, they could sneak in as a top seed.

As a basketball fan, it would be great to see Duke beat FSU tomorrow guaranteeing that the Duke/UNC tilt on Sunday is for the conference title. Even if the Tar Heels beat Tech and guarantee themselves at least a share of the ACC title, they won’t want to miss out on an opportunity to slam the door on the Dookies. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils need to be careful not to look past a Florida State team that is 22-7. Duke beat FSU in Tallahassee back in January, so the Seminoles will have revenge on their minds.

Joe Lunardi (ESPN “bracketologist”) says that if the season ended today, seven ACC teams would make the NCAA tourney — UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, Boston College and Virginia Tech. Maryland has been making a move, but they could really use a win against Wake Forest and then a win at Virginia to put themselves in good shape. Otherwise, they’d have to make some major noise in the ACC tourney to get a bid. Likewise, Miami is sitting at 6-8 in conference, but they have two winnable games (@ Georgia Tech, vs. N.C. State) to close out the season. If they win both, they’d be at 8-8 and be in position to earn a bid with a good showing in the ACC tourney.

Of the teams Lunardi listed, Virginia Tech is in the most tenuous position. They have a tough pair of games to close out the season — they host the Tar Heels and have to travel to Florida State. They need to win at least one of those games to stay in the hunt for an NCAA bid. If they lose both, they won’t finish at .500 in conference.

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