Men’s ACC Picks Revisited: DQs In 2020 & 2021 Threw Wrenches Into Projections


  • When: Wednesday, February 24th to Saturday, February 27th, 2021
  • Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Champion: Louisville (1x)
  • Results

In the lead-up to NCAA conference meet season, we previewed all ten major conference meets and took a stab at predicting a team order. Now, we’re looking back at those picks to see how the final team standings shook out. Where were we wrong? Where were we right? Which teams over-performed and under-performed compared to expectations?


SwimSwam Fan Guide Picks

  1. NC State
  2. Louisville
  3. Virginia
  4. Virginia Tech
  5. UNC
  6. Florida State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Georgia Tech
  9. Pitt
  10. Duke
  11. Miami (FL)
  12. Boston College

Actual Finish Order (With Change from our picks noted in parentheses)

  1. Louisville (+1)
  2. NC State (-1)
  3. Virginia Tech (+1)
  4. Virginia (-1)
  5. Florida State (+1)
  6. UNC (-1)
  7. Notre Dame (-) / Georgia Tech (+1)
  8. Pitt (-)
  9. Duke (-)
  10. Miami (FL) (-)
  11. Boston College (-)

Yet again, returning points proved a top indicator. Louisville returned 64 more points than NC State from the 2020 ACC Championships. Though NC State also lost a few key scorers to graduation, they brought in a flashy freshman class that made them the popular pick to win the conference. Swimulator projections had NC State up 70 points on Virginia and 277.5 up on Louisville, and even when you factored in diving (which happened a week early and was factored into our picks), NC State still looked like the 100+ point favorites.

But Louisville always shows up big at the conference level, and they well outperformed expectations to make this a thriller of a meet. Things came right down to the last relay, and even though NC State touched out Louisville by two tenths, the Cardinals held on for a two-point victory.

In a way, DQs were the main wrinkle to our predictions. Louisville disqualified a relay last year that would have put them second, and perhaps made their 2021 title hopes look that much more probable. On the flip side, NC State disqualified a relay this year that would have been worth a minimum of 32 points, easily enough to win the meet.

Further back, we projected a very close third-place battle between Virginia Tech and Virginia, though we had predicted Louisville to be more in that hunt than in the first-place hunt. Ultimately, VT outswam Virginia, taking third by 164.

There was one more flip-flop from our picks, and that was Florida State over UNC. That margin was 11 points, so things very clearly could have gone either way. For what it’s worth, Swimulator projections had UNC much, much higher than FSU (by 154 points, no less), so the Seminoles deserve credit for swimming extremely well to earn fifth place.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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