BUBBLE WATCH: Demon Deacons aim to add another win in ACCs


By AARON BEARD - AP Basketball Writer



FILE - Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams, center left, and forward Isaiah Mucius, center right, celebrate as students storm the court following the team's 98-76 victory over North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Alondes Williams is The Associated Press men’s basketball player of the year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, announced Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP, File)

FILE - Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams, center left, and forward Isaiah Mucius, center right, celebrate as students storm the court following the team's 98-76 victory over North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Alondes Williams is The Associated Press men’s basketball player of the year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, announced Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP, File)


FILE - Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes disputes a call in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Forbes is The Associated Press men's basketball Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, announced Tuesday, Match 8, 2022.(Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP, File)


St. John's Aaron Wheeler (1) drives past Xavier's Jerome Hunter (21) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in New York. St. John's won 81-66. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


A look at Wednesday for bubble teams chasing NCAA Tournament bids:

GAME OF THE DAY

Wake Forest meets Boston College in Wednesday’s second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in New York, and the Demon Deacons (23-8) are playing more to avoid damaging their NCAA resume than to bolster it.

The fifth-seeded Demon Deacons had no trouble in the first meeting, beating the Eagles (12-19) by 30 points at home on Jan. 24. But the 23-win season comes in a down year for the ACC, while the Demon Deacons are just 1-4 in Quadrant 1 games and 4-3 in Quadrant 2.

Led by league player of the year Alondes Williams and coach of the year Steve Forbes, the Demon Deacons were one of the last four teams to avoid a play-in round in ESPN’s mock bracket on Tuesday. They were a No. 11 seed in BracketMatrix.com’s average of 141 projected fields as of early Wednesday.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Oregon: Whatever chance the Ducks (18-13) have begins with a Pac-12 Tournament matchup against an Oregon State team that is 3-27 a year after reaching the Elite Eight. Oregon lost its last three games and won’t have leading scorer Will Richardson (14.1 points) due to an illness.

Xavier: The Musketeers (18-12) are firmly on the bubble entering the Big East Tournament against Butler. Xavier — which has lost seven of nine — is a 12-seed in BracketMatrix and one of the last four teams into the field of 68 according to ESPN.

RISING AND FALLING

Virginia Tech opens its ACC Tournament against a team that wounded its NCAA hopes last weekend. The Hokies (19-12) had won nine of 10 before taking a hit by falling at Clemson. Virginia Tech was one of the first four teams out according to ESPN’s Tuesday projection. … Virginia (18-12) also can’t afford a stumble as it opens the ACC Tournament against Louisville. The Cavaliers beat the Cardinals last weekend. … Seton Hall (20-9) looks to be on pretty solid footing – a 7-seed on BracketMatrix and an 8-seed on ESPN — as it heads to the Big East Tournament on a five-game winning streak, but a loss to Georgetown (6-24) with the Hoyas on a 20-game losing streak wouldn’t be ideal.

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FILE – Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams, center left, and forward Isaiah Mucius, center right, celebrate as students storm the court following the team’s 98-76 victory over North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Alondes Williams is The Associated Press men’s basketball player of the year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, announced Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_128343466-61d0c4eaf4a44e57a4943be42663348b.jpgFILE – Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams, center left, and forward Isaiah Mucius, center right, celebrate as students storm the court following the team’s 98-76 victory over North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Alondes Williams is The Associated Press men’s basketball player of the year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, announced Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP, File)

FILE – Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes disputes a call in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Forbes is The Associated Press men’s basketball Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, announced Tuesday, Match 8, 2022.(Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP, File)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_128343466-80a3896b16ca452d9be3e96cab2dae63.jpgFILE – Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes disputes a call in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Forbes is The Associated Press men’s basketball Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, announced Tuesday, Match 8, 2022.(Allison Lee Isley/The Winston-Salem Journal via AP, File)

St. John’s Aaron Wheeler (1) drives past Xavier’s Jerome Hunter (21) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in New York. St. John’s won 81-66. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/03/web1_128343466-228d1fe417dd49eaa51458e5c0b2fec0.jpgSt. John’s Aaron Wheeler (1) drives past Xavier’s Jerome Hunter (21) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in New York. St. John’s won 81-66. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

By AARON BEARD

AP Basketball Writer