BUBBLE WATCH: Drama in ACC has at-large bid implications
NEW YORK (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference’s NCAA Tournament bubble teams have had a dramatic first few days in Brooklyn.
Miami needed overtime and a buzzer-beating layup to avoid being upset by No. 13 seed Boston College in the ACC quarterfinals Thursday at Barclays Center.
The win puts fourth-seeded Miami in the semifinals against top-seeded Duke on Friday night. A loss to BC would have sent the Hurricanes (23-9) into a few nervous days ahead of Selection Sunday — much like Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons (23-9) were upset in overtime by Boston College on Wednesday and now appear to be squarely in could-go-either-way territory.
While the Demon Deacons are trending down, Virginia Tech has bettered its position.
The seventh-seeded Hokies used a buzzer-beater in overtime to advance Wednesday night against Clemson and then followed it up with a relatively easy victory against second-seeded Notre Dame (22-10) in the quarterfinals.
Now, the Irish will have to keep an eye out for bid-stealers this weekend.
The ACC has never had fewer than six teams reach the NCAA Tournament since the league expanded to 15 teams in 2013-14.
Everything will have to go perfectly for the conference over the next few days to reach that mark this year.
GAME OF THE DAY
Texas A&M vs. No. 4 Auburn.
The Aggies beat Florida in a bubble showdown at the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday to extend their winning streak to five games. Texas A&M (21-11) had a strong start to the season, dropped eight straight in the middle of conference play, but has come alive late to put itself in play for an at-large bid. What Quenton Jackson and the Aggies lack is signature wins against the best of the SEC. They can get that type of victory against an Auburn team trying to lock up No. 1 seed on Friday.
TEAMS TO WATCH
Virginia Tech (21-12). The Hokies have a top-35 NET ranking and have won 11 of 13 heading into Friday’s ACC semifinal against No. 25 North Carolina. It is Virginia Tech’s first trip to the conference semifinals in 11 years.
“We haven’t talked about (the NCAA Tournament),” coach Mike Young said. “We know we put ourselves in a tough spot. I’m going to worry about (Friday) and playing a really good opponent in a wonderful postseason tournament.”
Wyoming (25-7). The Cowboys are coming off a 59-56 win over No. 5 seed UNLV and face top-seed Boise State in the Mountain West semifinals Friday. The Mountain West has a chance to get four teams in the field of 68 with Colorado State and San Diego State also advancing to the conference semifinals.
Rutgers (18-12). The fourth-seeded Scarlet Knights face Iowa on Friday. Rutgers earned its best seeding in the Big Ten Tournament on the strength of big wins against Purdue, Wisconsin and Illinois. But some bad losses early (Lafayette, UMass, DePaul) have the them still trying to avoid a trip to Dayton and the First Four.
RISING AND FALLING
Oklahoma (18-14) upset No. 3 Baylor to reach the Big 12 semifinals Friday night. Under first-year coach Porter Moser, the Sooners went just 7-11 in conference in the regular season, but a NET rating of 43 keeps them alive for an at-large bid. ... Oregon’s hopes of giving the Pac-12 another at-large team in the field were probably dealt a final blow Friday when the Ducks were ousted by Colorado 80-69. Oregon (19-14) swept the season series from UCLA. “We had aspirations of going to the Rose Bowl but we’re going to the Weedeater Bowl,” Ducks coach Dana Altman said about an NIT bid. ... Indiana (19-12) erased a 17-point deficit to beat Michigan (17-14) on Thursday in a Big Ten Tournament game that was billed as a potential NCAA Tournament elimination game. ... The Atlantic 10 could end up anywhere from a one- to three-bid conference, depending on how its tournament plays out. The quarterfinals are Friday with Davidson (25-5) looking safest for an at-large bid, VCU (21-8) the first team out according BracketMatrix.com and Dayton (22-9) also in the mix.
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