At 6-1 in the ACC, the Virginia basketball team is in a good spot as March Madness talk begins to heat up.
So it's prediction time. How will the Hoos finish in the regular season (what ACC place/record), and what seed will the selection committee assign us? Here's what we think - drop your optimism-filled predictions down in the comments.
Paul Wiley: KenPom only predicts one more ACC loss (at Pitt on Sunday). The next two most likely losses according to his ratings are at Clemson (61% win likelihood) and home against Syracuse (54%). I think the Pitt loss is probably going to happen; Jamie Dixon's Panthers are NASTY good. I think we also drop one more to end the season at 15-3 in the ACC, but not necessarily where one would expect. We beat Cuse at the JPJ because we get them at the end of their week-long, three-game road swing. But we drop one stupid one along the way; at Maryland to end the year would be a potential let-down loss after a big win.
As the #3 seed, we make Saturday at the ACC Tournament before bowing out against a Syracuse squad out for revenge. We end up on the ever-dangerous 5/12 line, but on the right side this time.
Paul Guttman: 15-3 in conference is really difficult. I can't imagine we're going to win all those road games. We may lose our next two (both tough games obviously). We may lose to Clemson too, and Syracuse as well. Nobody does well the first time playing against that zone. That would make us 13-5 in the conference and probably the 4 seed in the ACC. I think we'll be the ones getting revenge on Cuse in the ACC tourney. The Big East teams are going to be at a huge disadvantage playing in Greensboro after so many years at the Garden. Syracuse is used to having tons of fans at the Garden, but how many of them are really going to travel to this little stupid town in NC? We'll probably lose to Duke in the semis. The Hoos facing Duke in Greensboro is similar to Cuse facing us there. Too many Duke fans, too much Duke history there.
We'll probably be a 4 seed on the S-curve based on our high RPI. But since the committee always hates us, we'll probably be a 5 seed playing in either whatever site is furthest from Charlottesville (Spokane? San Diego?).
Brian Schwartz: I say we finish 14-4 in the ACC. I think we have a good shot at winning at Pitt, but that's certainly a reasonable time for loss #2. I agree that we'll probably drop one of either vs. Syracuse or @ Clemson... and then we'll drop a third game, probably on the road, that everyone will panic about. I'd still say that 13-5 is probably more likely than 15-3, just because maintaining that high level of consistency will be very tough...but 15-3 is certainly doable.
Regardless, we are in very good shape to join Syracuse, Pitt, and Duke in the top 4 and grab an ACC bye. The most likely challenger is Florida State, but the head to head sweep gives us a great edge over them. And based on Duke's remaining schedule, I say we finish above them and get the 3 seed. Wouldn't it be nice to make an ACC Tourney run this year? Or win an ACC Tourney game?
That should prime us pretty well for about a 4-5 seed in the NCAA tourney, as our RPI will probably remain around in the low 20s. I'll take it.
Tim Mulholland: I'm going to say we will finish 13-5 in the ACC with losses @Notre Dame, vs Syracuse, @Pitt and @Clemson. I just don't see us sustaining the road momentum we've had so far, but I do think we'll hold serve at home other than the Syracuse game. I could certainly see us winning any or all of those. But I'm not willing to bet on them, even though KenPom is telling me I should with all his fancy numbers and stuff.
I think that'll put us in a tie for fourth place with someone like FSU, but we'll own the tie-breaker and so we'll get the double-bye for the ACC tournament. Speaking of which, am I the last person to realize that the top 4 teams get a two-round bye? Given how tiring our defense is to play consistently, that could be really big to get that double bye and not play until the second game on Friday, after eight games have already been contested.
I have no idea where we'll be seeded, but I do know we'll be in whatever the least convenient location is for me to travel to the game...
Caroline Darney: Call it delusion or call it optimism, but I'm going to go 15-3. I'm so bought in to this team right now it's ridiculous. I think they do well on this road trip, winning at Notre Dame and nabbing a close one from Pitt as they are still reeling from the Duke loss. Even with how well this team has been playing, I think they need that Pitt win for their resume (not that we won't make the tourney without it, but we have to get some statement games). We will drop either @Georgia Tech or @Maryland (oh man I hope not), and I don't have high hopes for the @Clemson game. I think UVA takes Syracuse at home.
As I'm typing all of this, I have changed my mind about 5,673 times...but I'm going to leave it. the 15-3 record will be good enough for a tie with Duke, but lose the tiebreaker for the three seed in the ACC tourney.
Best guess would be a 4/5 seed in the tournament, but I would be ok with a 6 seed. I also would like to remain unranked as long as possible. Rankings scare me.
Maybe we'll go 14-4. Or 13-5. Ah dang I have no idea. Just keep winnin'.
Brian Leung: I'm agreeing just about in full with Tim here, at 13-5. Rough week ahead with losses at Notre Dame and at Pitt. We'll get back in the groove, but will fall again at Clemson and vs. Syracuse. Maryland typically plays us pretty well, and we stand a chance at losing on the road to fall to 12-6, but I'm sticking with 13-5.
As for seeding, I think this will get us the coveted sixth seed.
Well, not much disagreement here. Looks like the consensus is a 13-5 or 14-4 (or maybe 15-3?!) ACC finish, and a seed between 4 and 6 in the Big Dance. What say you guys?