The regular season is over, and Louisville enters the 2021 ACC tournament with an opportunity to significantly improve its resume ahead of Selection Sunday. The Cards only played 19 games after 8 different matchups were postponed because of COVID-19. Coincidently, many of those cancelled games were potentially in the first quadrant, meaning that Louisville did not get many chances to pick up notable wins in an already down ACC.
The virus affected this Louisville team as much as anyone. Still, the Cards should be in a fairly good position to have their name called on Sunday regardless of what happens in Greensboro. That being said, a couple wins could really help them out with seeding.
Overall Record: 13-6
ACC Record: 8-5
Quadrant-1 Record: 1-5
Quadrant-2 Record: 6-0
Bad Losses: @ Miami (quad-3)
AP Poll: unranked
Coaches Poll: unranked
NCAA NET: 52
ACC Tournament Bracket (As of Wednesday Morning)
Round 1 winners 👇 pic.twitter.com/FqdMT7Xl9q
— ACC Men's Basketball (@accmbb) March 10, 2021
With the ACC tournament being played on a neutral floor, any win over a team within the top-50 of the NCAA NET ratings would qualify as a quad-1 win. Duke is ranked at 51, so a win over the Blue Devils would almost certainly be a quad-2 win. With the rankings constantly changing, it only matters where a team is ranked on selection Sunday. Ranking at the time of the victory does not matter when it comes to the quadrant system.
Notable ACC NET Ratings (Through games played on 3/9)
Florida State: 22
Georgia Tech: 37
North Carolina: 39
Virginia Tech: 42
With a win on Wednesday, a quarterfinal matchup with Florida State would be a big opportunity to add to the resume. With a loss on Wednesday, there is a good chance that Duke would move into the top-50, making it a quad-1 loss. Hypothetically, if Louisville were to make the ACC championship game, they will have played four games total and probably three against quad-1 opponents. The Cards started off the ACC season 4-0 but have not won more than two straight conference games since.
The reality is that Louisville’s lack of notable wins is going to hurt their seeding on Sunday. A loss to Duke would not be a bad one, but it would leave the door open for other teams to jump over the Cards on the seed line. There are plenty of sites that consider Louisville among the “last four byes,” meaning that they are dangerously close to playing in the First Four. A win over Duke probably protects them from the play-in no matter how the rest of the week goes.
This Louisville team essentially has nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain in Greensboro this week. Worst case scenario, they take a loss that does not significantly affect their resume. Best case scenario, they make a run and add as many as three or four notable wins to their resume.
Louisville Bracket Predictions as of 3/10 (Links Included)
ESPN: 10 seed (Last Four Byes)
CBS: 10 seed (37th overall)
FOX: 10 seed
Heat Check CBB: 11 seed
SB Nation: 11 seed
Bracketville: 10 seed (Last Four Byes)
TeamRankings: 10 seed (37th overall)
BracketMatrix Aggregator: 11 seed (42nd overall)