Commentary

Bubble Insider: Predicting the ACC

Using adjusted scoring margin, Insider looks at how the conference will shake out

Updated: February 11, 2011, 4:28 PM ET
By Ian Gordon | ESPN Insider
Mike KryzewskiStreeter Lecka/Getty ImagesCoach K and the Blue Devils are still tops in the ACC, but how does the rest of the conference look?

Much like last season's Pac-10, this season's ACC has taken a pounding from college hoops fans and media. And while it's true that the ACC has slipped behind the Big East, the Big Ten, the Big 12 and even the Mountain West in terms of conference RPI this season, it's still light years ahead of last year's two-bid Pac-10 -- and still a couple of spots better than this year's Pac-10, as well.

In Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology, five ACC teams find themselves in the projected tournament field: Duke, North Carolina, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Boston College. While the first two squads are locks for the tourney (with FSU not far behind), the Hokies and the Eagles are in much more tenuous positions on the bubble. Two other teams, Clemson and Maryland, find themselves behind the cut line, needing some serious help to nab an invite to the Big Dance.

Since all ACC teams have at least six conference games to go, we here at Bubble Insider decided to take a stab at projecting how the ACC will shake out over the rest of the season. To do so, we used teams' adjusted scoring margin (ASM) as a predictive device. Like Insider editor/writer Mike Hume wrote here last year, ASM looks at margin of victory as well as strength of schedule; generally, the team with the higher ASM is more likely to win any game.

Here's a look at the ACC's conference standings, with each team's ASM listed after its RPI, conference record and overall record. In the final column, we tabulated the teams' projected finish were they to win every game in which they had an ASM advantage.