Around the ACC: The Race for First Place

Story posted February 25, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Bourandas

Things are starting to go down to the wire as we approach the end of the season. As of now, it’s the Florida State Seminoles who hold the first-place spot in the ACC, but it’s not by much. Both Virginia and Virginia Tech are in striking distance, making the last few weeks of the season extremely crucial.

Starting out with the leader, Florida State has been on fire recently, winning its last four games. One of those wins was a major résumé booster as the Seminoles beat second-place Virginia by 21 points. This week, the Seminoles destroyed in-state rival Miami 88-71. RaiQuan Gray recorded a double-double while the FSU bench had two players score in double figures. The Noles will have one more game this week against North Carolina.

Despite being hammered by the Seminoles last week, the Virginia Cavaliers are still very much in the race to win the ACC title. They are only a half-game back of that first place spot and have their remaining two games against unranked teams. What doesn’t help their case is they are now on a three-game losing streak which started with that Florida State loss. They are coming off a seven-point loss against NC State on Wednesday night. The loss came despite a 21-point game from Sam Hauser. The Cavaliers next play against Miami.

Further back is Virginia Tech, which sits just two games behind Florida State in the conference standings. Like Virginia, the Hokies are coming off a loss in their last game as they lost by 16 to Georgia Tech. This came despite a double-double from Keve Aluma, though he did shoot a below-average 33% from the field. Looking at the remaining schedule, it’s very possible for this team to win out in its remaining three games. The Hokies don’t face a ranked team; their toughest matchup left on the schedule is against Louisville.

Speaking of the Cardinals, they are one of four teams in the ACC tied for fourth place in the standings. All four are 2 1/2 games back of Florida State. Louisville has three games remaining making it possible for the Cardinals to reach first place. However, the road ahead is not easy, as the Cardinals will face both Virginia and Virginia Tech.

As for Clemson, the Tigers have a good chance at winning out. They face two teams with losing records and a Syracuse team that’s in the middle of the pack in the standings.

North Carolina has a tough road as well; the Tar Heels will have to beat Florida State for a chance at the conference title. Even if they do that, both Syracuse and Duke—the other two remaining opponents—aren’t easy teams to face.

Finally, Duke plays two teams mentioned before in Louisville and North Carolina. They also face Georgia Tech, giving the Blue Devils one of the tougher roads to first in the ACC.

 

Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.