Can the ACC get 10 NCAA bids?

Conference record number of bids is a lock, but can ACC hit double digits?

Christine T. Nguyen—North State Journal
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim watches the second half of an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship semifinal game at the NRG Stadium in Houston

BROOKLYN — The ACC is almost guaranteed to set conference history on Selection Sunday. The question is whether it can give college basketball history a run for its money.With one of the best leagues in memory, the ACC will get a large number of NCAA bids when the brackets are unveiled. But how large can the conference go?Surprisingly, the ACC record for most bids in a year is only seven. Its accomplished that three times: Last year, 2009 and 2007. The ACC has also gotten a half-dozen bids 12 times, all since 1986.The ACC has gotten at least six bids each of the last three years. That will certainly be extended to a four year streak. If the NCAA only chooses the ACC teams that are ranked in the AP Top 25, that would give the league six bids.Each of the ranked teams have no reason to sweat Selection Sunday. The following teams are all in the dance, regardless of what happens in Brooklyn (listed in order of ACC Tournament seeding, not AP ranking):No. 6 North Carolina, 26-6, 14-4 ACCNo. 16 Florida State, 24-7, 12-6No. 22 Notre Dame, 23-8, 12-6No. 10 Louisville, 24-7, 12-6No. 14 Duke, 23-8, 11-7No. 21 Virginia, 21-9, 11-7Two other teams have conference records that are two games over .500 and at least 20 regular season wins. Either of those should be enough criteria to get a bid. Having both almost guarantees them a ticket to the Big Dance:Virginia Tech, 21-9, 10-8Miami, 20-10, 10-8That would give the conference eight bids, breaking the league record.Now, it’s time to set the sites higher. The all-time record for most bids by a conference is 11, by the Big East, in 2011.Four of the Big East teams that got bids that season are now in the ACC. Notre Dame and Louisville are already assured of bids. With a 15-16 record, 4-14 in conference, Pittsburgh is only getting in if it wins the ACC Tournament. That leaves the ACC’s first bubble team: Syracuse.The Orange are 10-8 in ACC play, which should be enough to get them in, although the 18-13 overall record could give the selection committee pause. Still, the Cuse have wins over three teams that were ranked in the top 10 at game time: No. 6 FSU, No. 9 UVA, No. 10 Duke.Despite that, the jury may still be out on Syracuse. The Orange are only rated 80th in RPI, and, while the committee is moving away from that measure, Syracuse is just 44th in the KenPom ratings, seven spots behind Clemson. A 15-point loss to Boston College is also unforgivable. Syracuse should beat Miami in the ACC Tournament opener just to secure things, otherwise, Jim Boeheim may have to sweat out the selection show.Wake Forest is the next team on the ACC bubble. The Deacs were 9-9 in conference and 18-12 on the year. Wake seems to pass the eye test easier than Syracuse. They played Duke tough twice, losing by a total of six points. They also lost to Carolina by six. They have one of the top players in the conference in John Collins and are ending the season on a winning streak. Their RPI (32) and KenPom (30) are both solid.But, close losses notwithstanding, Wake is just 1-7 against teams ranked in the top 25 of the RPI, and one third of its wins have come against teams ranked 185 or below. The first ACC game likely won’t help much, either, as Wake opens with Boston College.Still, barring a first-round upset, Wake seems to be secure with a spot. If Syracuse also makes it in, that would give the conference 10 teams. But a record seems unlikely. Even if one of the bottom dwelling teams (Georgia Tech, Clemson, NC State, Pitt or Boston College) goes on a tear and wins the ACC Tournament, they would likely take a bid from the Orange.The best the ACC can hope for is 10 bids, which would make it the second conference ever to reach double digits. If Boeheim gets snubbed, the ACC’s nine bids would tie the 2012 Big East for second-most bids, all-time.