This week marks the start of conference tournament play, so I’m going to take a look at my favorite, the ACC tournament.
The ACC has had an interesting year, with only Duke maintaining a spot in the top 25 throughout the year. Team like Miami, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Wake Forest came close, but couldn’t secure or keep a spot in the top 25.
I will be taking a look at the first round matchups, how I expect them to go, and then discuss which teams who have byes will be looking to make a run for the ACC title. I will be making predictions for the entirety of the tournament.
First Round Matchups
12 Pitt vs 13 Boston College– Both of these teams aren’t very good, but I feel Pitt is a stronger team. They split the season series 1-1, but in my eyes Pitt beat better opponents this year. Boston College did defeat Notre Dame early in the year, but struggled from then on. I expect Pitt to win this one.
10 Clemson vs 15 NC State– NC State is the 15 seed for a reason. They’ve only won four conference games this year. Those were against Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia tech, and Louisville.
Clemson hasn’t been great either, but they have managed to win the last two games of the season. I expect them to take that momentum and build on it by beating NC State.
11 Louisville vs 14 Georgia Tech- GT has won three of their last 12 games and lost their only game against Louisville this season by three points. Louisville on the other hand has only won one game in their last 11. I expect this to be an ugly, low scoring game and Georgia Tech will win led by Michael Devoe.
There are nine teams that get at least one bye in the ACC tournament. Five of them will have to play in the second round including #5 Wake Forest, #6 Virginia, #7 Virginia Tech, #8 Florida State and #9 Syracuse.
Syracuse and Florida State will be playing each other, but the rest are not sure of their opponents yet. They’ll have to wait for the results of the first round.
Out of the five teams guaranteed to be in the second round, I expect Wake Forest, Virginia, and Florida State to advance. As for Virginia Tech, I expect them to put up a good fight but eventually lose to Clemson in the second round.
The top four seeds in this tournament are #1 Duke, #2 Notre Dame, #3 UNC, and #4 Miami. If everything goes as I’ve expected, the quarterfinals will be:
#1 Duke vs #8 Florida State
#2 Notre Dame vs #10 Clemson
#3 UNC vs #6 Virginia
#4 Miami vs #5 Wake Forest
I believe Duke and Notre Dame will both easily handle their opponents, while UNC will struggle with Virginia. I also expect Miami to show up and defeat Wake Forest for the third time this year.
#1 Duke vs #4 Miami
#2 Notre Dame vs #3 UNCDuke has struggled at home this season, dropping three home games against conference opponents this season.
I think Duke will fall to Miami in the semi-finals. Duke fell apart late against UNC in their final home game, and I think the pressure is too much for Paolo Banchero and company. Miami will follow a big performance from Kam Mcgusty to beat Duke for the second time this year. Mcgusty was just voted first team all ACC.
I also see UNC coming up short against Notre Dame. Notre Dame is an underrated team with great scoring ability.
FinalsAnthony Walker poses with fans after shocking Duke at home earlier this season.
Your ACC tournament Champions will be… The University of Miami Hurricanes.
Miami lost a close game to Notre Dame earlier in the year and have been playing well ever since, barring two bad games against Virginia and Virginia Tech. I think if Miami can beat Duke again why can’t they beat Notre Dame?