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ACC Tournament Preview

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College Basketball

ACC Tournament Preview

The ACC Tournament bracket is set and ready to go beginning on Tuesday and the action will be held at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Seeding Breakdown

1) Virginia Cavaliers (28-2, 16-2)
2) North Carolina Tar Heels (26-5, 16-2)
3) Duke Blue Devils (26-5, 14-4)
4) Florida State Seminoles (25-6, 13-5)
5) Virginia Tech Hokies (23-7, 12-6)
6) Syracuse Orange (19-12, 10-8)
7) Louisville Cardinals (19-12, 10-8)
8) NC State Wolfpack (21-10, 9-9)
9) Clemson Tigers (19-12, 9-9)
10) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (14-17, 6-12)
11) Boston College Eagles (14-16, 5-13)
12) Miami Hurricanes (13-17, 5-13)
13) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-19, 4-14)
14) Pittsburgh Panthers (13-18, 3-15)
15) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (13-18, 3-15)

The Virginia Cavaliers earned the #1 overall seed due to their head to head win over #2 seed North Carolina. Duke enters as the #3 seed with Florida State making a late surge to surpass the Hokies to take the #4 seed. The top four seeds will not play until the quarter finals on Thursday, March 14th, as the top four seeds all earn a double bye in the tournament.

ACC Tournament Schedule

First Round – Tuesday, March 12th

Game 1: No. 12 Miami vs. No. 13 Wake Forest | Noon | ESPN
Game 2: No. 10 Georgia Tech vs. No. 15 Notre Dame | 2 p.m. | ESPN
Game 3: No. 11 Boston College vs. No. 14 Pittsburgh | 7 p.m. | ESPNU

Second Round – Wednesday, March 13th

Game 4: No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 Clemson | Noon | ESPN
Game 5: No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. Game 1 winner | 2 p.m. | ESPN
Game 6: No. 7 Louisville vs. Game 2 winner | 7 p.m. | ESPN2
Game 7: No. 6 Syracuse vs. Game 3 winner | 9 p.m. | ESPN2

Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 14th

Game 8: No. 1 Virginia vs. Game 4 winner | 12:30 p.m. | ESPN or ESPN2
Game 9: No. 4 Florida State vs. Game 5 winner | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN or ESPN2
Game 10: No. 2 North Carolina vs. Game 6 winner | 7 p.m. | ESPN or ESPN2
Game 11: No. 3 Duke vs. Game 7 winner | 9 p.m. | ESPN or ESPN2

Semi Finals – Friday, March 15th

Game 12: Gm. 8 winner vs. Gm. 9 winner | 7 p.m. | ESPN
Game 13: Gm. 10 winner vs. Gm. 11 winner | 9 p.m. | ESPN

ACC Championship – Saturday, March 16th

Game 14: Game 12 winner vs. Game 13 winner | 8:30 p.m. | ESPN

The Favorites

Virginia

Virginia has to be labeled a prime contender. A squad that has lost just two games this year, has been poised in every single game to the finish. With seasoned veterans and 2018 ACC Tournament Champions Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and De’Andre Hunter leading the way, the Cavaliers are poised to become back-to-back champions in the ACC Tournament.

North Carolina

North Carolina won a share of the ACC Regular season title and earned a #2 seed in the ACC Tournament. Despite fielding a very different team this year than they did a year ago, Roy Williams and Carolina haven’t lost a step in ACC Play. The Heels swept Duke, who did not have Zion Williamson, but still impressive nonetheless. With the senior duo of Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson plus star freshman Coby White, North Carolina can hang 90 points on you if you fall asleep on defense or in transition.

Duke

The good news for Duke is that it is almost guaranteed that Zion Williamson will be back for Duke’s quarterfinals game on Thursday. With Zion in the lineup, Duke should not only be considered a primary contender, they should be seen as the #1 overall contender. Zion coming back not only brings paint dominance on both ends of the court, it opens up the defense for RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, who were suffocated by opposing defenses.

Sleepers

Florida State

It might be tough to view a #4 seed as a sleeper, but in the case of the Noles, they are indeed a sleeper pick. When the top three seeds in the conference are considered National Title contenders and the #5 seed Virginia Tech is considered the better team, that’ll happen. The Noles have arguably the deepest bench of anyone in the ACC, as they use eleven players throughout the course of most of their games. Above all, they will be the freshest team in a tournament that features zero rest days in between games. They also have the veterans to win big games in Phil Cofer and Terance Mann plus leading scorer, sophomore Mfiondu Kabengele.

Syracuse

Hall of Fame Head Coach Jim Boeheim always seems to have his Syracuse Orange ready in the month of March. Last year, the Orange were a #11 seed in the NCAA Tournament and they made a run to the Sweet 16, where they lost a close game to Duke. Coach Boeheim was fortunate enough to return all five starters from last year’s tournament run and add multiple pieces that they lacked a year ago.

Louisville

Chris Mack has done a far better job than anyone expected this season. The Cardinals are definitely better than their record indicates, as they should have more wins in the ACC. They were up by 23 points, with just under 10 minutes left, but found a way to blow it. In their season finale against Virginia, Louisville was up 62-61 but ended up scoring just six points to finish the game. Their biggest weakness is closing out games, but they can beat any team in the ACC if they are able to score down the stretch. Jordan Nwora is an elite offensive player, and he by himself can beat you on offense.

Best Potential Matchup

Duke – Carolina

In the semifinals, Duke and Carolina could potentially meet if both do their jobs in the quarterfinals. It would be their third meeting of the season, but the first with Zion Williamson, who will likely play in the ACC Tournament beginning for Duke on Thursday.

Predictions

Round One

No. 12 Miami vs. No. 13 Wake Forest

Winner: Miami

No. 10 Georgia Tech vs. No. 15 Notre Dame

Winner: Georgia Tech

No. 11 Boston College vs. No. 14 Pittsburgh

Winner: Boston College

Round Two

No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 Clemson

Winner: Clemson

No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. No. 12 Miami

Winner: Virginia Tech

No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Georgia Tech

Winner: Louisville

No. 6 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Boston College

Winner: Syracuse

Quarterfinals

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Clemson

Winner: Virginia

No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech

Winner: Virginia Tech

No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 7 Louisville

Winner: North Carolina

No. 3 Duke vs. No. 6 Syracuse

Winner: Duke

Semifinals

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech

Winner: Virginia

No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Duke

Winner: Duke

Championship

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 3 Duke

Duke beat Virginia twice during the regular season, and with Zion Williamson coming back looking to destroy everyone in his path, Duke will have a walk in the park beating Virginia for a third time this season.

Duke wins this game with relative ease.

ACC Tournament MVP

Zion Williamson

 

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