Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Is 9 not enough? Hokies’ Williams says ACC deserves 11 in NCAA field

February 10, 2017 Columns No Comments

After getting seven teams into the NCAA field a year ago, the Atlantic Coast Conference looks to get at least a couple more in the 68-team field for 2017.

Latest projections for the 15-team league are that the league will get nine teams in, according to ESPN, or 10, according to predictions by CBS Sports and Bleacher Report.

But Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams thinks that is underestimating the strength of the league. After his team’s 74-68 loss at Miami Wednesday night, Williams was asked if he thought the conference could get as many as 11 teams in.

“I think if you studied the numbers it would,” he said, “but I don’t think that will happen. And I’ve said that since Media Days.”

Williams is somewhat of a unique spot as far as projecting numbers. He was coaching at Marquette when the Big East placed 11 of its 16 members into the tournament in 2011.

But that was somewhat due to circumstances, Williams said.

“I think that the disparity between the bottom 4 (actually 5) and the top 11 teams in the Big East in 2011 is partially what allowed 11 teams to get in,” he said. “I don’t think you will find that disparity in this league. And I think that will prevent an 11th team going.”

In 2011, teams 1-11 in the Big East standings-Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Louisville, St. John’s, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Georgetown, UConn, Villanova, and Marquette-all were at .500 or better in conference play and all had winning overall records. The bottom five all had losing records both in league games and overall.

In the ACC this season, there isn’t quite that clear a demarcation. With essentially three weeks left in the regular season, eight teams have winning records in ACC play and another six have better than .500 marks overall. Only one (Pittsburgh) has a losing overall record.

Williams’ Hokies fell to 5-6 in the conference with their loss to Miami and are tied with Georgia Tech for ninth. The Hokies are 16-7 overall, the Yellow Jackets 14-10.

Another key factor could come into play here that would open things up for the ACC (and others, for that matter). Williams doesn’t see as many at-large bids going to so-called “mid-majors” in 2017. (He referred to them as non-BCS conferences, but we know what he meant.)

“I probably pay attention to it too much just because I have such a shallow existence,” he said, drawing laughter from the reporters at the post-game press conference. “But I don’t think this year there will be as many at-large teams from non-BCS leagues. I think there will be some politicalness-not presidential-carried over into March relative to the BCS leagues.”

And that would tend to benefit not only Williams’ Hokies but other ACC teams on the fringe like Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and even Clemson. Imagine, say, if Miami, which has already lost at Wake Forest, also loses to Clemson and Georgia Tech among its remaining games. How does that shake up things?

One non-factor, as Williams sees it, is the success ACC teams enjoyed in last year’s tourney. Unlike the Big East in 2011, when only two (UConn, the eventual national champ, and Marquette) made it to a regional semifinal, six of the seven ACC teams in the field made it to the Sweet 16 in 2016, four got to the Elite Eight, and two, North Carolina and Syracuse, were in the Final Four. You can hear the point made that with such success the ACC may have deserved more than seven spots last year, but not from Williams.

“It’s not based on what you did in the tournament,” he said. “It’s based on what you did prior to admission into the tournament. I think the reason this will go down as the best league is Pitt beat Maryland at Maryland. Pitt beat Virginia. And Pitt got their second win tonight. And nobody in the league wants to play Pitt. Nobody wants to play Boston College.

“We’ll see. We’ll see.”

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2018

March 20, 2018 by

We discuss the wild early rounds of the NCAA Tournament, joined by special guest Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal for one segment. In addition, we touch on coaching news and other issues surrounding the college game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 17, 2018

March 17, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, there is one main story to focus on: history being made in Charlotte and its aftermath. But we also talk about tough times for the Pac-12 and a key member school, plus an added challenge ahead at Pittsburgh.

College Basketball Tonight – March 11, 2018

March 12, 2018 by

College Basketball Tonight returns with a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament bracket, and in the second segment Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian joins us.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2018

March 10, 2018 by

As Championship Week nears its climax on the big Saturday, we look at a pair of semifinals and a lot of bubble teams that may be sweating it out on Sunday.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 8, 2018

March 8, 2018 by

As Championship Week heats up, we talk about bubble teams who may or may not want to earn their way into the NCAA Tournament, as well as a couple of mid-majors whose conference championship game was played earlier in the week.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.