Full Game-by-Game Predictions for ACC Tournament Right Through Championship Game
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The elite ACC basketball conference has fallen short of expectations this year. Tournament play commences with bracketologist Joe Lunardi projecting only four of the league’s 12 members making it to the Dance.
Those four (also the league's top seeds) can wipe the sweat from their brows going into this tourney. Regardless of ACC tournament play, North Carolina, Duke, Florida State and Virginia look safe to make the final 68 cut.
N.C State (20-11) and Miami (18-11) are projected to the NIT.
Other than bragging rights, little is at stake for the remaining league members in this weekend’s games.
Keeping in mind who has to win, and why, here’s one scenario for this year’s Greensboro Showcase.
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Maryland (8) v. Wake Forest (9)
When these teams met in January, Demon Deacon Travis McKie went off on the Terrapins, scoring 40 percent of Wake Forest's points. But the Terps still snuffed Wake Forest by six.
Expect a repeat in the ACC tourney, with sophomore Terrell Stoglin leading his team through the first round. While neither Maryland (16-14) nor Wake (13-17) will go to the field of 68, Maryland can still get an NIT bid.
N.C. State (5) v. Boston College (12)
N.C. State has every reason to play hard in this one. The Wolfpack can still play itself into a Dance invite, and has already beaten Boston College twice this year.
Don't be tempted by the old "it's tough to beat a team three times in a year" rule. The hapless Eagles are 9-21 on the season and have lost five of their last six.
The Wolfpack will advance and stay alive for Selection Sunday.
Clemson (7) v. Virginia Tech (10)
On the surface, these teams look similar. They split games in the regular season, with each pulling off the win by a bucket at home. They both finished with records hovering around 0.500. But the Hokies have struggled immensely in conference play, posting a meager 4-12 ACC record.
Don't count out VA Tech, though. Despite riding a four-game losing streak into the conference tournament, the Hokies have showed more spark than the Tigers during the season.
Look for the Hokies to pull off the upset.
Miami (6) v. Georgia Tech (11)
With 18 wins, Miami probably needs to get to Sunday’s final to have any chance of wrangling an NCAA bid. At 12-18, Georgia Tech is a train wreck.
The Hurricanes will play Friday.
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Maryland (8) v. North Carolina (1)
This is a high stakes game for both teams.
Maryland needs to win to impress the NIT selection committee. Carolina needs to win to cement a No. 1 regional seed. After beating them twice this season, the Tar Heels have Maryland's number.
Tar Heels get it.
N.C. State (5) v. Virginia (4)
N.C. State will be hungry for this one. After staging a late-game comeback at home in the regular season, the Wolfpack fell to Virginia by one after missing a shot at the buzzer.
At 22-8 and No. 4 in the ACC seeding, Virginia is considered a lock invite to the Tourney. A win Friday by N.C State will allow them to match Virginia’s win total and puff up their own resume.
State will push through in a close upset.
Virginia Tech (10) v. Duke (2)
Virginia Tech may have shown a spark on Thursday, and they may talk themselves into believing that Duke’s 18-point home meltdown against Carolina six days earlier is somehow significant.
It is, but not in this game. Duke is still Duke.
Miami (6) v. Florida State (3)
On paper, Florida State (21-9) against Miami looks like a mismatch. But as good as the Seminoles have looked at times, racking up their 12-4 league record and beating Carolina by 33, don't forget that they have also laid some eggs along the way.
Not only did they lose to BC (which happens), but they also lost to Harvard and Princeton, two teams whose players have to look at the ball when they dribble.
Miami will pull off the second upset of the day in the late slot.
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North Carolina (1) v. N.C. State (5)
North Carolina beat N.C. State in their two meetings this season, vaporizing them by 19 at home and then going on to take the Wolfpack by 12 on their turf. Not only do the Tar Heels hold the edge, but at this point in the ACC tournament N.C. State will have their 22 wins and a solid argument for an NCAA bid.
As always, this game will be an in-state bloodbath, but North Carolina will triumph. Tar Heels advance.
Duke (2) v. Miami (6)
This is where we start worrying about Ryan Kelly's absence.
The forward will miss the ACC tournament with a sprained foot he sustained in practice. Although Kelly is an impact player, he has struck double digits in only three of his last nine games.
The Kelly factor won't limit Duke in this one, and the Blue Devils will leave Miami wishing the game had been a football matchup. Duke goes on to the finals.
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North Carolina (1) v. Duke (2)
A classic rubber game.
UNC will have plenty of swag coming into this one. They only lost to Duke at home by one when a freshman threw up a prayer as time wound down. UNC then went on to blowout the Blue Devils by 18 in Duke's house.
But UNC's pride will be deflated in this one. Duke will pull through. Expect the Blue Devils to cut the nets come Sunday.