FSU's ACC Tourney Rooting Guide

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC Tournament has begun in Greensboro, North Carolina, and with it the Florida State Seminoles’ final chance at making a run at an NCAA Tournament bid. The tourney to decide the conference champion concludes on Sunday, and, between then and now, several games not seemingly concerning FSU will be played. But this is the era of computer rankings, so, to one degree or another, every game matters, particularly within one’s conference. So which other teams’ success increase the ‘Noles tourney chances? Read on.

The simplest way to go about securing a spot in the big dance is, of course, to just win your conference tournament and the automatic bid. If you’re going this route, then the easiest possible road for the #9 Seminoles, at least seed-wise, would be to beat #8 Maryland on Thursday, #1 UVA on Friday, hope for some upsets, then top #13 Notre Dame in the semifinals before defeating #15 Virginia Tech in the title game. It’s possible. But very unlikely.

Florida State’s more plausible outcome would be a reasonably deep run paired with the right teams winning in other games to boost their computer rankings. So here’s the breakdown of the optimal ACC tourney results, game by game.

First Round (Thursday)

#13 Notre Dame vs. #12 Wake Forest

This is close to a toss-up, as FSU defeated each of these teams during the regular season. Their computer numbers are a wash, as the Irish boast a better BPI, but the Demon Deacons are better per the RPI. Both defeated Duke, but Wake did so just last week, so it’s fresher in the public consciousness. Also, the winner gets Pitt, who FSU needs to win, so the better match-up for the Panthers is the FSU priority. Pitt topped both Notre Dame and Wake Forest during the regular season, blowing out the latter while the former took them to overtime. So, once again, Wake gets the edge. FSU Rooting Interest: Wake Forest

#15 Virginia Tech vs. #10 Miami

The ‘Canes not only crush the last-place Hokies in both computer rankings, but they also handed the ‘Noles their worse conference loss of the season, so it behooves the Seminoles for Miami to look good (as counterintuitive as that may be). This one’s easy. FSU Rooting Interest: Miami

#11 Georgia Tech vs. #14 Boston College

Again, Florida State took care of business against both these teams during the regular season, but, with the better computer numbers, the Yellow Jackets are a better resume builder. FSU Rooting Interest: Georgia Tech

Second Round (Thursday)

#9 Florida State vs. #8 Maryland

This will serve as the rubber game, as these two split the season series. Lose this one, and it’s NIT time, plain and simple. To honor the formality…FSU Rooting Interest: Florida State

#12 Wake Forest (or #13 Notre Dame) vs. #5 Pittsburgh

Whoever the Panthers play, the ‘Noles are big-time Pitt fans here– the Seminoles’ triumph over the Panthers in the Keystone State was their best ACC triumph of the year. FSU Rooting Interest: Pittsburgh

#10 Miami (or #15 Virginia Tech) vs. #7 NC State

Florida State at least split with Miami– they can’t say the same about NC State, as the Wolfpack won the teams’ lone meeting. Translation…FSU Rooting Interest: NC State

#11 Georgia Tech vs. #6 Clemson

Employing similar logic as was used with the last game, the ‘Noles bested Tech in their only meeting, while they split with the Tigers. Wins are important to the selection committee, but so are better losses. FSU Rooting Interest: Clemson

Quarterfinals (Friday)

#9 Florida State vs. #1 Virginia

It’s tough to beat a team three times in one season. Or, at least, so hope the Seminoles. FSU Rooting Interest: Florida State

#5 Pittsburgh vs. #4 North Carolina

This one’s tricky. UNC dropped FSU, but the ‘Noles topped Pitt. So one might think they’d pull for the Panthers. I disagree. Pittsburgh has struggled down the stretch, while the ‘Heels have been one of the hottest teams in the country. Avenging their earlier loss would look better than beating the same sputtering Pitt team again. FSU Rooting Interest: North Carolina

#7 NC State vs. #2 Syracuse

Both beat Florida State in the regular season, so, at this point, the ‘Noles just need the best team to advance to the title game, so it wouldn’t be as bad a loss if they dropped it. FSU Rooting Interest: Syracuse

#6 Clemson vs. #3 Duke

Same thought process. If the Seminoles can make the title game, I think they’re in– no need to tarnish that run with a weak loss. FSU Rooting Interest: Duke

Semifinals (Saturday)

#9 Florida State vs. #4 North Carolina

Making it past Virginia may put them in the dance. But this would solidify it. FSU Rooting Interest: Florida State

#3 Duke vs. #2 Syracuse

Since the Orange have struggled down the stretch, matching up with Duke would probably carry more weight for the ‘Noles. FSU Rooting Interest: Duke

Championship Game (Sunday)

#9 Florida State vs. #3 Duke

Hell, if they’re gonna make it this far, they may as well win it. FSU Rooting Interest: Go ‘Noles!


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