By Kyle Beery

Selection Sunday is less than a week away, and it’s time to start getting a feel for teams around the country. I’ll be writing a series of posts to give fans a snapshot of each “Power Conference” team that has a shot of making the NCAA Tournament — as well as a handful of mid-major teams.

I’ll look at each team’s best wins and worst losses, a key stat for each team, and a wild-card fact to know about each squad. Check back all the way up until the tournament tips off, as posts will be updated periodically to reflect most recent results.


North Carolina Tar Heels (26-6 overall, 14-4 ACC) — No. 4 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Louisville (No. 3 RPI); Florida State (No. 11); Duke (No. 14); Virginia (No. 16)
Worst losses: at Georgia Tech (94); at Indiana (81)

The Tar Heels have an impressive 15 wins against the RPI top 100, including 10 against the top 50. UNC finds itself staring at a 1-seed as Selection Sunday approaches. The Heels will need to avoid an early letdown in the ACC Tournament in order to hold onto that top seed.

Key stat

North Carolina is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country. The Tar Heels rank fourth in’s adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 121.8 points per 100 possessions, adjusted to their opponents.


Senior forward Kennedy Meeks is perhaps the best-least-talked about player in the country. The 6-foot-10, 260-pounder is a beast in the post, averaging 12.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

Meeks has been a little overshadowed by freshman Justin Jackson and veteran Joel Berry, but maybe that’s how the Tar Heels like it. Meeks has quietly helped carry the Heels to the position they’re in.

Florida State Seminoles (24-7, 12-6) — No. 11 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Louisville (No. 3); Florida (No. 5); Duke (No. 14); at Virginia (No. 16)
Worst losses: *Temple (No. 121); at Ga. Tech (No. 94); at Syracuse (No. 80); at Pitt (No. 70)

The Seminoles started as one of the hottest teams in the country at 18-2, reaching as high as No. 6 in the AP Top 25. But they hit a rough patch with back to back bad losses, and finished the regular season 6-5 in their final 11 games.

While Florida State played the 23rd-toughest schedule in the country, its non-conference schedule was a mediocre 103rd.

Key stat

The Seminoles play a pretty up-tempo game, averaging 83 points per game, which ranks 17th in the country. Leading the way is sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon, who scores 16.9 PPG.


Florida State is one of 11 teams in the country that rank in the top 25 of kenpom’s adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency.

Louisville Cardinals (24-7, 12-6) — No. 3 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Kentucky (No. 7); Duke (No. 14); Purdue (No. 18); Notre Dame (No. 24)
Worst losses: at Wake Forest (No. 32); at Notre Dame (No. 24)

The Cardinals played the toughest schedule in the country, with a strength-of-schedule ranking of No. 1, according to CBS Sports. While they’re 17-0 against teams outside the RPI top 50, they are 7-7 against teams inside the top 50.

They lost twice to Virginia (No. 1 AdjDE), showing that they struggle with great defensive teams.

Key stat

The Cardinals are a pretty good defensive team themselves, ranking No. 6 in adjusted defensive efficiency. They allowed 65.4 points per game, which ranks 38th in the nation.


Louisville had a bit of a stumble down the stretch, losing two of their last four, including a bad loss at Wake Forest that opened the NCAA Tournament door for the Demon Deacons. While a loss at North Carolina doesn’t look that bad on paper, the Cardinals looked pretty shaky against the Heels.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (23-8, 12-6) — No. 24 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Louisville (No. 3); Florida State (No. 11); at Miami (No. 41)
Worst losses: at Georgia Tech (No. 94)

Notre Dame has had a pretty solid season on the heels of a run to last year’s Elite Eight. The Irish have just one loss outside the RPI top 50, but they are just 5-7 against the top 50.

Six of those seven losses, however, have been by 10 points or fewer. The Irish seem to matchup well with most of their opponents and could get hot in March, as they are the 3-seed in the ACC Tournament.

Key stat

The Fighting Irish own the best free throw percentage in the country, shooting 80.9 percent at the line. It will be hard to beat them if a team lets them get a lead late in the game.


The Irish are a pretty top-heavy team, with four guys averaging double figure points, and the next closest at just 5.0 PPG. Leading the way is junior Wooden Award candidate Bonzie Colson, who gets 17 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Duke Blue Devils (23-8, 11-7) — No. 14 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: North Carolina (No. 4); *Florida (No. 5); Florida St. (No. 11); at Virginia (No. 16)
Worst losses: North Carolina State (No. 124); at Syracuse (No. 80); at Virginia Tech (No. 45)

This has been an up-and-down season for the Blue Devils. They reached as high as No. 5 in the AP Poll with a 12-1 record before Grayson Allen got into some more tripping trouble. Duke started ACC play 3-4 before rattling off seven straight wins.

The Devils finished the regular season on another slide, however, losing three of their final four games, including one at the buzzer in Syracuse.

Key stat

Sophomore Luke Kennard leads the Blue Devils with 20.1 points per game. He eclipsed the 20-point mark 16 times this season and scored more than 30 on three occasions.

Four other Blue Devils average double figures for a team that averages more than 80 a game, which ranks among the top 30 in the country.


Duke lacks a true standout point guard, which could make them vulnerable in the tournament, but Kennard, Allen, Amile Jefferson and Jayson Tatum have been able to carry much of the load this season.

The lack of a true point guard — whose only role is to run the team — has hurt Duke at times this season, especially in a loss to NC State. Part of it can be blamed on suspensions (Allen) and injuries (Tatum and Harry Giles). Regardless, the Blue Devils will need to make some adjustments in order to make a postseason run.

Virginia Cavaliers (21-9, 11-7) — No. 16 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Louisville (No. 3) twice; North Carolina (No. 4); at Notre Dame (No. 24)
Worst losses: at Syracuse (No. 80); at Pittsburgh (No. 70)

The Cavaliers struggled at times this season, especially against the RPI top 50. They went 6-7 against those teams. They went 8-2 against teams ranked 51-100, but came dangerously close to having three or four more losses against those teams.

Virginia lost four in a row earlier in February, but closed the season strong with three straight wins, including one of its best wins of the season over UNC.

Key stat

As has been the status quo with the Cavs over the last several years, they are the best defensive team in the country. Virginia allows an NCAA-best 54.9 points per game, and ranks first in kenpom’s adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing 85.7 points per 100 possessions.


While the Cavs don’t score that many points, they do have the ability to pop off on any given night and come close to 80 points, thanks in part to a 38.9 three-point field goal percentage that ranks in the top 30 in the nation.

Freshman Kyle Guy is a dead-eye shooter that is shooting 50 percent on the season. It’s just a matter of finding him enough minutes when the Cavaliers are in need of some deep shooting.

Virginia Tech Hokies (21-9, 10-8) — No. 45 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Duke (No. 14); Virginia (No. 16); Miami (FL) (No. 41); at Michigan (No. 47)
Worst losses: at North Carolina State (No. 124); *Texas A&M (No. 88)

The Hokies went 4-7 against the RPI top 50 in the regular season, but made up for it by going 8-1 against the next 50 teams. They opened ACC play with an upset over Duke, which set the tone for the rest of the season.

Virginia Tech played the 69th-toughest schedule, but played a pretty lackluster non-conference slate, which ranked 291st. That number could be holding the Hokies back from being in the 6-7-seed range.

Key stat

With just one player in their regular rotation above 6-foot-6, the Hokies are prone to getting out-rebounded. Their small lineup grabs just 32.4 rebounds per game, which ranks 323rd in the country.


Senior forward Zach LeDay is the catalyst of the Hokies, averaging 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. LeDay failed to score in double figures just twice this season. He broke the 20-point mark five times this season.

Miami (FL) Hurricanes (20-10, 10-8) — No. 41 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: North Carolina (No. 4); Duke (No. 14); at Virginia (No. 16)
Worst losses: at Syracuse (No. 80); at Virginia Tech (No. 45)

Miami got off to a slow start in ACC play, losing four of its first six games in conference play. The Hurricanes turned things around by going 8-4 down the stretch, with their three best wins of the season in that span.

The Hurricanes went 4-9 against the RPI top 50, but went 4-1 against the next 50 teams.

Key stat

Miami ranks 19th in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing 93.2 points per 100 possessions. That ranks fourth among ACC teams, even with defensive powerhouses Virginia and Louisville in the conference.


Senior guard Davon Reed, the Hurricanes’ leading scorer (15.3 PPG) was named to the ACC’s All-Defense Team and made 3rd Team All-ACC. Reed came up big in the Canes’ win over North Carolina, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Syracuse Orange (18-13, 10-8) — No. 80 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Florida State (No. 11); Duke (No. 14); Virginia (No. 16)
Worst losses: at Boston Coll. (No. 211); St. John’s (No. 139); *Connecticut (No. 120); Georgetown (No. 95); at Georgia Tech (No. 94); Monmouth (No. 46) by 21 at home

Syracuse needs to go on a run in the ACC Tournament in order to have a shot at making the Big Dance. The Orange got what seemed to be a resume-boosting win over Duke at the buzzer a couple weeks ago, but losing four of their last six does not help their chances.

Going 6-7 against the RPI top 50 is not bad at all, but it’s the rest of Syracuse’s schedule that is glaringly bad. They went 3-3 against teams ranked 51-100, and have three losses outside the top 100.

Key stat

Syracuse ranks outside the top 100 in adjusted defensive efficiency. In each of the last four seasons, the Orange ranked inside the top 20 in that category.

Jim Boeheim has always had an defensive emphasis with his teams, but this year, that is the Orange’s weakest link.


The Orange undoubtedly over-performed in the ACC, compared to its 8-6 non-conference slate. They had some terrible losses outside the conference, but made some adjustments to at least get themselves to where they are now, right on the bubble.

Part of the reason for that is the emergence of John Gillon as the team’s starting point guard. Boeheim was platooning Gillon with sophomore Frank Howard to begin the season, but the graduate transfer from Colorado State took the reins and steered the team to bubble position, hitting a big shot against Duke along the way.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (18-12, 9-9) — No. 32 RPI

Best wins/worst losses

Best wins: Louisville (No. 3); Miami (41); at Virginia Tech (45)
Worst losses: at Syracuse (No. 80); Clemson (No. 67) twice; at Northwestern (No. 54)

Wake Forest looked dead in the water a couple weeks ago, but a win over Louisville revived the Demon Deacons’ NCAA Tournament hopes. A third win against the RPI top 50 boosted a resume that was lacking a truly impressive win.

Key stat

The reason the Demon Deacons have been able to cling to NCAA Tournament hope is their offense. They score 82 points a game and get 120.4 points per 100 possessions, good enough for the 9th-best adjusted offensive efficiency on


Sophomore John Collins averaged 19.1 points per game this season en-route to 1st team All-ACC honors. He finished second in ACC Player of the Year voting. He is without a doubt the driving force behind this team and will need to perform well in the conference tournament to get the Demon Deacons to the Big Dance.


Make sure to check out my bracketology projections and keep tabs on the rest of the March Madness Snapshot series: Big Ten | Big East | Big 12