Every year, the ACC gets shafted by the committee, while the Big 10 and SEC seem to always get the "benefit of the doubt" because of "how tough" the competition is. The Big East, surely, deserves to have 6+ teams get bids, but that's because the Big East is a bloated conference with too many teams. In the past, a good-average team like Florida State or Virginia Tech would have some bad losses, but also wins over a handful of top-20 teams, and still get no consideration from the committee. This year, I hear a lot of people claiming the ACC doesn't deserve many NCAA berths because of all the unexpected wins by lower-ranked teams. Simple logic dictates that when underdogs win, they should be considered better than before they won. That same logic would also suggest that teams that win against higher-ranked teams should move up the list for an at-large NCAA bid.
Let's look at the ACC this year and make some determinations about who "deserves" a bid (all the Big 10, SEC, Big 12, Big East, et al, fans can do this for themselves):
Clemson: Lots of whiners out there today, claiming Clemson should get no credit for the win vs. Duke, because suddenly Duke is "overrated" and "sucks." Funny -- not at all what people were saying just last week. As a Carolina fan, I have always said they suck, but I also think they should always be in the tournament as long as they finish 6th or better in the ACC, because they are well-coached and you always know what you are getting with Duke -- it's a consistent product. Clemson, by comparison, has good road wins against Temple and Illinois, as well as at Miami, and now has a win over Duke. With an overall record of 19-2, and losses against two teams they were expected to lose to (UNC and Wake), unless the Tigers lose 5 of their last 9 games, they're in and deservedly so.
Maryland: Yes, Gary Williams is in hot water -- you lose to Morgan State at home, you get that. But the Terrapins' other losses are understandable: UNC, Duke, Gonzaga, @ Georgetown before we knew they sucked, BC, Miami, @ FSU (one of the toughest places to play, ask any #1-ranked team). If the Terps somehow pull off wins against 6 of their final 8 opponents, including 2 of either: UNC, Duke, Wake, or Clemson, they could actually get into the tournament (plus, they'd be 9-7 in league play, which does count for something). Crazy but true -- you'd have to take those 2 wins over the body of work of some SEC or Big 10 middle-of-the-pack teams, is my guess.
Miami: The Hurricanes have road wins against Kentucky and Boston College, and losses to UConn, Ohio State, Clemson, and UNC before their recent slide (losing to NCSU and Maryland on the road, and VaTech at home). Still, if the Hurricanes win 5-of-7 to finish the season, they'll be 9-7 in the ACC and that has to be "good enough" to get them into the NCAAs. If they happen to get a win against Duke or UNC, they're a lock. Plus, there's always the bonus opportunity of the conference tourney...
Florida State: That loss to Northwestern, on the road, doesn't look nearly as bad as it used to. Then the Seminoles lost to Pittsburgh, Duke, @ Miami, and to UNC. No shame in any of those, I think we can all agree. FSU has 10 games left, needs 4 wins to get to 20 for the season, has a chance at road wins against Wake, Duke, and Clemson, and I believe they can go 6-4 over that stretch, have a 9-7 conference record, and still get strong consideration from the NCAA selection folks. What they don't have, yet, is a signature win. One of those, and you can't ignore them (that probably jinxed them, though, since they always, always get shafted on Selection Sunday).
Virginia Tech: The Hokies are a ridonkulous team: they beat Wake, but lost to some real crap teams, like Georgia and Seton Hall. Overall, they're only 14-7, so in order to get consideration, I think they have to win 6 of their last 9 games, finish 10-6 in the ACC and 20-10 overall, and a win against Clemson, UNC, or Duke wouldn't hurt (it could come in the ACC tournament and make a big difference). Basically, VaTech is about the most "blah" team in the conference right now. The good news for them is their final 9 games include NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and 2 against FSU -- winnable. Among the questionable trio of Maryland, Miami, and Virginia Tech, I think the Hokies have the best chance to slip up, lose 5 games, and slide out of NCAA contention.
Boston College: Everyone wrote them off after they lost to Ha-fricking-arvard, then lost to pretty much everyone else. But the Eagles are 18-6 and in 4th place, so yeah, they're probably already an at-large team. If they win just 4 of their final 7 games, they get 10 conference wins, including a nice one over UNC, and they can pick up a lock-it-in-type win against Clemson or Duke on Feb. 10 or 15, for insurance.
In a nutshell: in my opinion, the top 5 teams in the ACC are already in: UNC, Duke, Wake, BC, and Clemson. There are four teams with a legitimate shot to join them, in this order: Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Maryland. My best estimate is that unless there are a slew of upsets in the next few weeks and also in the conference tournament, we'll see 7 ACC teams in the NCAAs. Since the same could be said for the Big 10, and of course the Big East may get even more, I guess the power conferences are back.