The theme of this year’s college basketball season is parity.
Yeah, pundits say that pretty much every year, but it’s especially true during the 2015-16 campaign. No one can hold onto the No. 1 seed, and heading into Saturday, there are three-way ties atop the Big 12, Big Ten and SEC.
The parity is going to make forecasting the NCAA tournament difficult, as there will ultimately be a handful of teams on the bubble boasting similar resumes. But we’re here to help sort things out.
Heading into Saturday’s action (records and numbers are current as of Friday, February 12), let’s take a look at where teams from the major conferences stand. We’ll start with the ACC:
Virginia: The Cavaliers, again playing defense at an elite level after a slow start to the year, have won seven in a row and are up to No. 6 in the RPI. That’s highest in the ACC.
North Carolina: In their last three, the Tar Heels have lost twice and narrowly won at Boston College. They’re still on top of the ACC, and winning the conference could still get them back to a No. 1 seed, though.
Miami: Jim Larranaga’s squad is an impressive 8-1 against the RPI Top 50, with the only loss coming on the road against Virginia. None of those are on the road, though.
Duke: Many were writing the Blue Devils off, but they’ve won three in a row and have a couple of huge matchups against Virginia and North Carolina on deck.
Notre Dame: The Irish have zero losses outside the RPI Top 50, but for seeding purposes they were looking for some more resume-building wins. They got one against UNC, their third victory against an RPI Top 50 squad.
Pittsburgh: An RPI of 38 and strength of schedule of 48 have the Panthers safe for now, but they’ve lost three of four and better be careful.
Inside the Bubble
Florida State: The Seminoles don’t have any real bad losses, but they are also just 2-6 against the RPI Top 50 and have a poor non-conference strength of schedule (208). A win against Miami on Saturday would be huge.
Syracuse: ‘Cuse has won four in a row and has six wins inside the RPI Top 50. A loss to Saint John’s looks bad, but the Orange are in decent shape.
Outside the Bubble
Clemson: The Tigers have lost three of four, their RPI is just 73 and their non-conference strength of schedule is a putrid 334. They’ve got some work to do.
Need to Win the Conference Tournament
Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest, Boston College
Note: All RPI and strength of schedule numbers courtesy of Basketball State. Numbers will vary slightly depending where you look.
Head to the next page for the Big 12 outlook.
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