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In many ways, the ACC's three remaining bubble teams are back to square one. And yes, frequent Watch readers and ACC die-hards will note the use of the term "three." That's because Florida State receives the move into lock territory today; there is simply no way the Seminoles can miss the NCAA tournament at this point. (FSU's first ACC tourney game will come against either Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech; the Noles could lose to either and still look OK in the eyes of the committee.) But Clemson, Boston College and, yes, Virginia Tech all remain squarely on the bubble after last week's respective performances. The ACC tournament will mean everything to these teams, all of which probably need to get more than one win in the conference tourney to feel comfortable about their chances heading toward Selection Sunday.
Boston College [19-11 (9-7), RPI: 43, SOS: 24] Boston College needed a big win to get back in the thick of the bubble race last week, and while the victory at Virginia Tech wasn't exactly a signature one, it was a win against a fellow bubble team at the most crucial point in the season. Still, BC's only top-50 RPI win was against Texas A&M back in November -- and this team hasn't beaten anyone better than Virginia Tech or Maryland since then. In other words, you would think the Eagles still have a lot to prove to the committee. If (OK, when) they beat Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC tournament, Steve Donahue's team will play a hugely important quarterfinals matchup with Clemson on Friday. A loss there might officially send the Eagles to the NIT. A win would give them another victory over a fellow bubble rival, and it would give them the opportunity to take on North Carolina, a team they very nearly beat in Chapel Hill on Feb. 19.
I doubt we'll see both of these teams in the final NCAA bracket, which makes Friday an "elimination game" for each. BC needs to defeat Wake Forest on Thursday to force the issue. Also on Friday, Virginia Tech (if it gets past Georgia Tech), has a near-elimination game against Florida State. Predictably, the plot has thickened for the Hokies.