Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Catching up with....ACC Women's Basketball -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple
FIGHT FOR TOP FOUR SPOTS ROLLS INTO THE STRETCH
All of the teams in the ACC women's basketball conference have played at least 10 conference games. They'll all participate in 16 conference games before the teams go to Greensboro for the ACC Conference Tournament that begins on March 4th.
Winning the conference regular season is a primary goal...of course...but finishing in the top four of the standings gets you a double bye in the tournament seeding and you get to watch the action until Friday, March 6th.
Notre Dame sits atop the standings as of Wednesday, Feb. 11th. with a 23-2 regular season record and 10-1 in conference. Florida State is 9-1 and could move into a tie with the Irish if they can handle UNC in Raleigh on Thursday. The Irish are off until Monday...when they defend the Joyce Center against Duke.
Duke sits third in the standings at 9-2 and Louisville is in the 4th spot at 8-2. The Cards will stay a 1/2 game behind if both win Thursday. Louisville goes to Clemson and Duke visits Charlottesville to face Virginia.
Finishing ninth or better in the conference regular season play gets you a single bye...where #8 and #9 matchup on Thursday and #5 through #7 face the winners of the first day of action involving the #10-#15 regular season teams.
So far...Syracuse holds fifth at 7-4. Close behind are Miami and North Carolina at 6-4. Pitt and Virginia, both 5-5 would fill out the eighth and ninth spots if the tournament started today.
The rest of the current stats are Georgia Tech and NC State at 4-6, Boston College at 2-8 and Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Clemson are all 1-10. These six could be the first day participants and can pretty much be ruled out of getting a double bye now. We figured in preseason meanderings about the league that Ga. Tech...with Kayla Davis...would be one of the teams that would finish over .500 in conference play. There is still time for them to accomplish that...but with Miami, Duke and Notre Dame still to face...highly unlikely.
The Tekkies would have to be our choice for most underachieving expectations team so far this year.
Most overachieving pick so far for us would be Miami. Their loss to Pitt was a unexpected stumble, but win over Notre Dame is the biggest upset (we think) in conference play so far. Bassy the Ibis' gals still have another round with Florida State ahead (they lost to them Sunday) and North Carolina ahead as tough matchups...a win in either of these two would back up our "most-overachieving" selection.
So...what will it take for the Cards to remain in the desirable top four in the conference? Obviously..win, baby, win...but we think 12-4 will get Louisville a double bye.
The Cards have (at) Clemson, North Carolina, (at) Virginia Tech, (at) Notre Dame, Boston College and (at) Virginia remaining on the schedule. Louisville would need to go 4-2 the rest of the way out.
We'll predict that Clemson, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Boston College will land in the "W" column for the Cards. North Carolina could go either way. Notre Dame (at South Bend) could be an "L" for Walz's bunch.
We will say that four of the final six on the road is no picnic. There could be a road upset and based on the current standings...it looks like Virginia would be the team most likely to pull it off. We'll watch the Wahoos efforts against Duke (Thursday @ Virginia) and Fla. State (Sunday @ Virginia) and maybe alter that prediction if UVA gets blown out in both.
We'll predict that the Cards finish this stretch 5-1 and end up 13-3 in conference. We see Notre Dame and UNC as possible losses. North Carolina looms as a 'pick'em game...but since it is in the KFC YUM! Center...where Louisville is undefeated in ACC play...we're thinking the Cards beat the TarHeels this Sunday.
Other stats of note are...
Scoring offense. Notre Dame is first with 84.7 ppg. The Cards are third at 76.6. (Please note these are stats before Sunday's action was played.)
Scoring defense. Miami leads the way with 56.4...closely followed by Florida State and Louisville at 57.1.
Home attendance. The Cards have regained the top home attendance spot, averaging 8892 a game. The 13656 that attended the Pitt game are not included here. Notre Dame is bringing in 8843 and far back in third is Duke with 4560.
It's hard to believe that the conference season is over 60% done.
It's pleasantly surprising to see Louisville at 20-3 and 8-2 in the ACC. Tough tests remain, though...and the Cards can't afford to look past anyone, no matter what their record is or where they're currently sitting in the conference standings. One of Jeff Walz's axioms is:
"The next game is the most important one."
It's also hard to believe there are only two home games left this season. Where did the time go? Let's pack the YUM! Sunday and on Thursday Feb 26th.!!
March Madness is only four weeks away...beginning with the gauntlet to run through in Greensboro and culminating with the Cards quest to put their stamp on Tampa.