ACC Tournament First Round Preview: Expect The Unexpected

The ACC and SEC BlogSenior Analyst IMarch 10, 2009

The ACC Tournament kicks off Thursday afternoon in Atlanta, GA. 

Who is going to make a name for themselves? 

Lets take a brief look at the four games on the first day of tournament play.

8. Virginia Tech Hokies vs 9. Miami Hurricanes
Thursday 12:00 Noon
TV: Raycom

You won't find two more evenly matched teams in the ACC. The Hokies won the only meeting between the two by an 88-83 margin in overtime at Miami.

Virginia Tech really struggled down the stretch losing three of their last four and six of their last seven.

Miami is one of the best rebounding teams in the nation and suffered narrow defeats to Duke and North Carolina in late February.

Both teams shoot about the same percentage and turn the ball over right around 13 times per game. Like I said—about as even as you can get—but I think Miami is playing better ball coming into March.

Pick: Miami

5. Clemson Tigers vs 12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Thursday 2:30PM
TV: Raycom

The Tigers won both regular season matchups by 14 and 8 points. Georgia Tech lost seven ACC games by five points or less en route to their 2-14 conference record.

Although Ga. Tech played Clemson pretty close in both of their games, the Tigers strength of forcing turnovers is the Yellow Jackets weakness. But don't expect Paul Hewitt's club to lie down because they have not all year.

I like Clemson in a close game.

Pick: Clemson

7. Maryland Terrapins vs 10. NC State Wolfpack

Thursday 7:00PM

The Terps will match up with NC State, whom they just beat two weeks ago in Raleigh 71-60.

Maryland, like Va. Tech, stumbled down the stretch losing four of their last six. The Terps played very well in the 11 point win turning the ball over just five times and hitting 10 three pointers.

NC State had 16 turnovers, four more than their season average. The Pack did pretty well two years ago in the ACC tourney from this position and I think they spring the first round upset.

Pick: NC State

6. Boston College Eagles vs 11. Virginia Cavaliers

Thursday 9:30PM
TV: Raycom

The Eagles have likely already played their way into the NCAA Tournament, but a loss to Virginia could hurt their seeding.

BC won the only season meeting in Charlottesville 80-70 in early February.

Boston College overcame 20 turnovers and 22 more shot attempts by the Cavaliers. I like the Eagles to advance to Friday.

Pick: Boston College

Season: 25-22 SU through 3/8

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