The ACC was 13 points from going 0-4 on day 1 of the NCAA tournament. With that said the name of the game is survive and advance, and that’s what 3 of the 4 ACC teams playing Thursday did. Notre Dame beat Princeton 60-58. Virginia defeat UNC-Wilmington 76-61. Florida State got by Florida Gulf Coast 86-80, and Virginia Tech lost to Wisconsin 84-74.
Let’s start with Virginia Tech first since they were the only ACC team to lose. I don’t like the excuse that Wisconsin was under-seeded as an 8 seed. The Badgers are a good team, but not great – not even very good. Teams like that are 7-9 seeds which is exactly where Wisconsin was. The Badgers are a slow-footed team, but they are well coached, fundamentally sound, and physical inside. They’ll get by bounced by Villanova, but against a thin on the interior Hokie team they took advantage inside. The Hokie guards got to the lane at will, but the Badgers controlled the boards, made their Free Throws late and won. The Hokies will be fine in the future. Buzz Williams has put his stamp on the team, and now it’s time to recruit. They got to the NCAA tournament, and that’s a big step.
For the teams that advanced Virginia, Notre Dame, and Florida State, a couple of them need to play alot better going forward. In particular Florida State had a huge physical advantage against FGCU, but played large stretches of indifferent sloppy basketball. That has been the MO of FSU all year. They are capable of losing or beating anyone they face. With Xavier next, the Noles can’t rely on their athleticism to win. They better play better or they’ll be eliminated.
Notre Dame nearly blew an 11 point 2nd half lead to Princeton. West Virginia will be enough of a challenge next. If Notre Dame doesn’t play a full 40 minutes against the Neers they’ll be done.
I’m not as concerned with Virginia as Notre Dame and FSU. UNC-Wilmington is a really good team, coached by if their smart NC State’s next head man Kevin Keatts. This was a tough 12-5 draw for UVa. They got 24 from London Perrantes. That’s as good sign, as Virginia can be load to deal with when he’s on. Next for Virginia is a pretty good 4 seed team in Florida. There’s no doubt Virginia can compete with Florida, but Perrantes again needs a solid game. Here’s a prediction he scores 18+, Virginia wins.
The ACC is off to a 3-2 NCAA start and 5-3 in the post-season including the NIT. It’s a decent, but not great start for the ACC.