ESPN "bracketologist" Joe Lunardi currently has eight ACC teams making the NCAA Tournament field of 64, with North Carolina, a No. 1 seed, and Duke, a three, both going to Greensboro and Wake Forest, also a three, sent to Philadelphia. He's also got Clemson, Florida State (vs. Davidson in Miami), Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami getting in. He talked about the three at the top, Miami, bubble team Maryland and the selection process.
On UNC, Duke and Wake:
"Two of them are going to go to Greensboro, and one is probably going to Philadelphia. There's a possibility that one of them could go to Miami, and that, in part, depends on where Villanova finishes, because given the economy and the opportunity to keep a team really close to home, Villanova can stay on the three [seed] line, they'll probably play in Philly even if it would be closer for the ACC team by a little bit. [The selection committe] would view Wake going to Philly or Miami probably as a wash. Putting one team on a bus and one team on a plane is better than putting two teams on a plane, is probably the way they look at it. At this point, Wake is the odd man out, but that's certainly subject to change in the ACC Tournament."
"They had the three big home games — Carolina, Duke and Wake. They won one of them. They managed to squeeze in a road win in between at N.C. State. They've not been a great road team, and that's probably being kind. Their road losses to tournament teams have been pretty unsightly in most cases. I'm not optimistic about Maryland [getting a bid]."
"They probably need to win one in the ACC Tournament to be safe; 8-8 certainly keeps them in the field. These last two [regular-season games], in a way, can only hurt them. They can't really help them. I happen to think Miami's pretty good. I seem to stumble upon them in all of their close losses. They look like one of the 34 best teams to me, and they just need to avoid giving the committee a reason to think otherwise. 8-8 plus one would almost certainly do it. 8-8 and a loss, as long as it's not a terrible loss, to Virginia or something like that, and I still think they'll make it."
On how the selection committee can compare teams from the middle of the power conferences that have played a lot of top-100 teams, as opposed to mid-majors with very good records that don't have that many chances to play a top-100 opponent:
"It is very difficult, and it's not apples to apples. It's almost unknowable and unanswerable. I tend to favor the truly high-achieving, high-quality mid-major, because achievement generally leads to more achievement. And inconsistency in what I call a 'middling major' generally leads to inconsistency. We could argue until Selection Sunday about whether Georgetown or Notre Dame, for example, has better players than Creighton or Siena or Butler or Davidson. And they probably do, if we were playing a pickup game and the guys were choosing sides. That would probably favor the power conference teams. But ultimately, it's a meritocracy, at least to me, and you have to win and achieve within the framework that you've chosen. ... And over the last 10 years, double-digit [seed] major conference teams have won 35 percent of their NCAA games, and double-digit mid-majors have won 40 percent. Now that's not a huge difference, but it's certainly not a no-brainer to pick the team that on paper has better talent. I'm not looking at the 14-, 15-, 16-type seeds. I'm talking about teams that, had they not won their conference tournaments, clearly would have gotten at-large consideration. And it's worth pointing out that the mid-majors get the double-digit seeds three times more often, so the bias towards the majors is built into the seeding process. These teams are seeded to lose, yet they achieve more."