Parity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At least in certain circumstances.

It makes for competitive games, it keeps the standings tight and interesting, and from a fan’s perspective, it creates an environment in which every game on the schedule is winnable.

The flipside of that is that they’re all just as losable.

And that’s a problem for the ACC.

The conference is already fighting a major perception problem that has manifested itself into progressively fewer NCAA Tournament bids over the past few seasons.

The prospects for the situation getting any better between now and March aren’t promising.

It helps that blueblood North Carolina has risen back to its traditional perch atop of the league standings and is once again among the top 4 nationally. But not even that’s enough of a diversion to distract attention from the carnage that exists below them.

Duke, NC State and Florida State all lost at home on Saturday, dropping them into a 4-way tie with Wake Forest for 2nd place.

And that’s just the tip of an even bigger iceberg.

The same 2-win margin that separates 1st from 2nd is also the gap between 2nd and 10th place in the standings.  The logjam is a testament to how much better the middle and bottom of the league is this season. But that’s not necessarily better for the league.

Call it parity if you like.

Flirting with disaster might be a more accurate description.

While it’s never a good idea with this much of the season still to play to put any stock in bracketology – or proctology as Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes jokingly called it last week – the forecasts do provide at least a glimpse into the direction things might be headed as we get closer to March.

It’s an ominous sign that the ACC has only 3 teams listed in most of the current projections.

Even more troubling is the fact that the league has nearly the same number of teams sitting 100th or below in the NET rankings that weigh heavily in the NCAA selection committee’s decision (3) as it does in the top 50 (4).

That means there is just as much of a potential for resume-killing Quad 4 losses as Miami (to Louisville), Clemson (to Georgia Tech) and Virginia (to Notre Dame) have already suffered – as there are for those all-important Quad 1 wins that boost a team’s chances.

“The NET is so tricky,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said after Saturday’s 84-78 loss to Virginia Tech. “The problem that I have right now is figuring out how to get Quad 1 opportunities. It’s so hard to get a Quad 1 opportunity at home, because how many teams are going to come in that’s got a 35 NET or below? It’s hard.”

It would be easy to dismiss the Wolfpack’s 84-78 loss to Virginia Tech as a bad day at the office. Just a still-early loss to a conference opponent with a higher NET that can be easily overcome.

The reality, however, is that it’s a missed opportunity that could turn out to be the difference between a 2nd straight NCAA Tournament bid and a home game in the 1st round of the NIT. Even if the Wolfpack (13-5, 5-2 ACC) goes on to win 20-plus games and finishes well over .500 in the conference.

While that might sound overly alarmist, recent ACC history suggests that it’s not.

Two seasons ago, Forbes’ Deacons went into Selection Sunday with 23 wins and a 13-7 ACC record and still found themselves on the wrong side of the bubble. Lightning struck again last year, this time with Clemson, which also got left out in the cold with 23 victories and an even better 14-6 league mark.

State is heading in the direction of a 3rd straight disappointment because of its lack of “good” wins as defined by the NET.

Its best victory to date came last Tuesday against Wake Forest, which came into the weekend at No. 45. Like Saturday’s loss against No. 59 Virginia Tech, it was classified as a Quad 2 result.

The Wolfpack is now 3-1 in such games. Their other 10 wins are all either Quad 3 or 4, including 9 against opponents ranked 200th or worse. They have yet to record a Quad 1 win. And they’re already running out of chances to get one.

That’s not a problem exclusive to State.

The 8 teams ranked directly below UNC and Duke in the NET have combined for a 4-27 record in Quad 1 games.

With 2 of those victories to its credit, Clemson is in the best shape of that group. But that’s only if the Tigers get their act together and return to the form that helped them win 11 of their 1st 12 games and rise to No. 16 in the traditional polls before losing 4 of their 1st 5 to start the new year.

Saturday’s 78-67 triumph at Florida State was a promising start. Same for Virginia’s 1st road win of the season, at Georgia Tech.

But there’s still a lot of work to do.

The best-case scenario for the ACC is for a couple of those teams to get hot and start stacking some victories together to pad their NET ranking and separate themselves from the pack. It doesn’t matter who it is. Just as long as they’re among that 2nd tier or 8.

With the exception of Duke, which is still an elite team once starters Jeremy Roach and Mark Mitchell regain their health and return to the lineup, the reality is that it’s not likely to happen.

Given the way the teams below the top 2 are already cannibalizing each other, winning streaks figure to be few and far between.

That’s the price of parity.

And it’s already shaping up to cost the ACC dearly on Selection Sunday.