by Jerry Palm
That's what the ACC looks like this year. The gap between the Blue Devils and the other teams is as pronounced as I've ever seen in any major conference, and this is one of the worst year's ever for the ACC.
How bad is it? Even the Mountain West ranks ahead of the ACC. In the previous 18 years, the ACC has not been a top three league only once (2000 -- 7th).
The ACC is the sixth-rated league right now, two spots behind the Mountain West. Even though the Mountain West is having a great year, that has got to have the blue bloods in ACC country hot under the collar. And while teams get bids, not conferences, that fact, combined with the pile of mediocrity behind Duke, leads me to believe the ACC may not be very well represented in the even-bigger NCAA tournament this March. Even five bids total may be optimistic.
North Carolina would appear to be in the best shape for a bid. The Tar Heels have a win over Kentucky and no bad losses so far.
Miami is also in the top 30 of the RPI, but has a 16-point loss at Rutgers and has yet to be at sure tournament team.
Boston College is the only other league team currently in the top 50 of the RPI, but has two home losses to Ivy League teams. The Texas A&M win is nice though.
Beyond that, only outstanding league play has a chance to salvage a bid for anyone else. Not merely good. Outstanding.