Bubble Watch: Tough day for ACC bubble teams


By Jim O’Connell - AP Basketball Writer



Clemson head coach Brad Brownell, right, argues with the referee during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, second from left, gestures as his team comes in to the bench during a time out in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. Miami won 62-57. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Boeheim usually says what’s on his mind and it doesn’t matter if the topic is his team’s chances at making the NCAA Tournament’s field of 68.

Syracuse lost to Miami 62-57 on Wednesday in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. It was a win that would have improved the Orange’s resume. It was a loss that may mean no NCAA Tournament.

“It’s up to them. My opinion doesn’t matter,” Boeheim said, referring to the tournament selection committee. “Every coach in the country that’s on the bubble thinks his team should get in.”

What will hurt Syracuse is its lack of road wins and an RPI of 75 but the Orange did go 6-7 against the top 50. Last year, the Orange had an RPI in the 70s and they were invited and went all the way to the Final Four.

The ACC Tournament saw two other bubble teams lose a game that would have pretty much locked up an at-large bid.

Clemson lost to Duke 79-72 and Wake Forest lost to Virginia Tech 99-90.

Clemson won an opening-round game to bolster its record but the Tigers really needed a win over a team like Duke. They have an RPI of 63 and were winless in seven games against the top 25.

“We won six (ACC) games. We probably needed to win eight or 10,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “That’s obviously why today’s game was so important for our team. If we could have got today’s game, then I think we have a better chance, and then maybe one more.”

Wake Forest made a late-season surge with a win over Louisville and another at Virginia Tech. The Demon Deacons still have an RPI of 31 but do they have enough impressive wins, only going 1-7 against the top 25?

“I think some losses early in the season kind of like hurt us a little bit, but I think down the line during ACC play we picked up a few big wins, especially against — upsetting at Louisville and now Virginia Tech,” guard Brandon Childress said. “Being 9-9 in ACC play, I think that helped us out a lot. Hopefully, we get in. If not, we’ve still got to be ready to play no matter if it’s NIT or in the NCAA Tournament.”

In the Pac-12, California helped itself with an opening-round 67-62 win over Oregon State. The Golden Bears have an RPI of 55 but they are 0-6 against the top 25.

In the Big East, Xavier beat DePaul 75-64 in the opening round, a win that keeps the Musketeers alive and sends them to face Butler, a win that would certainly impress the committee. Xavier had a late-season six-game losing streak that followed the loss to a knee injury of point guard Edmond Sumner.

Clemson head coach Brad Brownell, right, argues with the referee during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/03/web1_115446875-636f571a68be4d7da1fd1541f432f323.jpgClemson head coach Brad Brownell, right, argues with the referee during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, second from left, gestures as his team comes in to the bench during a time out in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. Miami won 62-57. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/03/web1_115446875-9582e360159b466484a746623ce2b2e2.jpgSyracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, second from left, gestures as his team comes in to the bench during a time out in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. Miami won 62-57. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

By Jim O’Connell

AP Basketball Writer