Bubble Watch: Two of three ACC teams keep their hopes alive
Almost all of the bubble talk Tuesday centered around the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Three members of the ACC started the first round of the conference tournament in Brooklyn, New York, with a chance at being one of the 37 at-large teams in the NCAA Tournament or at least staying in the conversation.
Two schools - Clemson and Wake Forest - got the wins they needed while Georgia Tech came up just short.
Clemson beat North Carolina State 75-61 to advance in the tournament and the Tigers will face Duke in the second round. A win there would improve their record against the top 50 to 6-11 and that might be enough to get Clemson, which has an RPI of 66, over the top.
''Another opportunity,'' Clemson's Jarron Blossomgame said. ''We focused on beating NC State. We got that out of the way. We'll regroup now and focus on Duke. We played them tough up there in Cameron, lost by two. I'm definitely excited for round two.''
So, too, can Wake Forest, which beat Boston College 92-78. The Demon Deacons would have been eliminated from consideration if they lost to the Eagles but now they face Virginia Tech, a team they beat on the road last week in their late-season push. Wake Forest is looking to improve its record against the top 50 to 4-8, which combined with an RPI of 29 would seem to be enough to get the Demon Deacons off the bubble.
''I can't say for sure. Selection Sunday we'll find out if 19 is the number that we end on, but that's not our goal,'' Austin Arians said referring to Wake Forest's win total. ''Our goal is to win as many games here in New York as possible.''
Georgia Tech, the surprise team of the ACC this season, had an RPI in the 90s and needed the win over Pittsburgh to have a chance at beating Virginia, a second-round win that would have helped their profile immensely.
''I'm really proud of our young men,'' first-year Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said after the 61-59 loss to Pittsburgh. ''I still believe eight wins in this league deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament, being this is the best league in the country. However, I know it could still be a long shot. We're going to keep our fingers crossed. Either way, whether it's the NCAA Tournament, or the NIT, to be able to play in postseason, as we're trying to rebuild the program back, to get more games. This one is going to sting.''
The rest of the power conferences get their tournaments underway Wednesday so the bubbles will start popping again.