Too many basketball pundits and fans take as self evident that all league records are equal. In the post expansion era of ACC basketball nothing could be further from the truth and to evaluate a team you have to look at who they played and where they played them. Here is a breakdown of the opponent’s conference records as they stand right now for ACC teams:
|ACC games only||Record||Opponent’s |
|Opponent’s Win. %|
Duke suffers in this analysis because they don’t have the opportunity to play themselves and it makes their schedule appear less impressive. In a similar manner it would make sense that some teams at the bottom have their numbers inflated because they don’t have the chance to play themselves and drag their schedule down. It is obvious that Wake Forest and particularly Virginia Tech have the records they do because they play the easiest schedules in the league by a wide margin. The Hokies sitting at 8-3 are probably the best example of the unbalanced schedule helping a team to a record that probably doesn’t reflect their true quality. Virginia Tech doesn’t play a home-and-home with a single team in the top six of the conference standings an unbelievable stroke of luck for a team that had a weak non-conference slate and didn’t have a single noteworthy win coming into conference play. Furthermore the Hokies get home games for the only meeting of the season against three of the top four opponents in the current standings. It isn’t much mystery that the Hokies are 8-3 after playing six home games. They have failed to prove themselves capable of winning on the road with their best win coming in overtime against a slumping Virginia squad. They have already lost on the road to UNC and Miami who are a combined 6-16 in league play yet the record of the road opponents in league play is a horrendous 37-51. They have two legitimate road test left on their schedule at Duke and Georgia Tech so it will be worth watching how Virginia Tech performs in those venues. Wake Forest also has reason to be grateful to the schedule maker as their record is only slightly easier than the Hokies. The Deacons only face Duke, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State once but do have a tougher road schedule than Virginia Tech. There isn’t much the league can do about the scheduling since expansion had nothing to do with what was best for basketball. The ACC should change the tie breaking procedure for the ACC tournament seeding. A team should not win the tiebreaker for beating their opponent only once on their home floor. Instead the higher seed should be given to the team with the better record against opponents who finished higher in the league standings. If two teams were tied and one beat the other on the road in the only meeting of the season then I could see giving the team that won a tiebreaker on that basis.
It has become clear since expansion that ACC basketball has not been the same as when every team had an equal schedule. Their are still great teams and great programs but a winning league record used to be proof a team had a good season in the ACC, not so any longer. It probably makes the ACC tournament even more significant than in past years. At least there all the teams are on a level playing field, though I’m sure Gary Williams would disagree with that assessment in Greensboro.