ACC Tournament 2013: Underdogs No One Wants to Play in Conference Tourney

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 28:  Joe Harris #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers controls the ball against Rasheed Sulaimon #14 of the Duke Blue Devils at John Paul Jones Arena on February 28, 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

No one wants to catch the upset bug come tournament time.

Even though the upcoming ACC tournament isn't as big as the Big Dance itself, it's not the time to take an ugly loss if you're a team that is tournament-bound or on the bubble. Unfortunately for those teams, the ACC boasts a deep pool of talented teams that can beat anyone on any given night. 

Teams like Miami, North Carolina and even Duke need a good showing in the conference tournament to improve their seeding and pick up the momentum they'll need to make a deep run once the Madness really starts to kick in. 

These dangerous teams could force the favorites to tread carefully if they want to hoist the ACC title when it's all said and done. 


Virginia Cavaliers

Good guard play and some hot three-point shooting can carry any team through tournament play. Virginia has shown this season that they are capable of both. 

The Cavaliers have struggled with consistency. Back-to-back losses show why they aren't considered the elite in the conference. However, wins over Duke and NC State show that they can hang with just about anyone in the conference. 

Virginia is the second-best three-point shooting team in the conference (39.5 percent as a team). They also have a crunchtime scorer that they can count on in Joe Harris, who is shooting 45.1 percent from three-point land and can carry the Cavaliers offense for stretches. 

If Harris and his team play with confidence, they can make some noise in this tournament. 


Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech is a measly 6-11 in conference play, but that doesn't mean they aren't capable of catching a team off-guard in the tournament. 

The Jackets have won two of their last three, with wins over Miami (who will be either the first or second seed) and a Maryland team that is fighting for their tournament life every time they step on the court. Their whole body of work suggests that they are a conference doormat, but come tournament time it's all about what you've done lately. 

Center Daniel Miller is capable of putting up big numbers in the post, and that can open up the perimeter for the rest of the team. He's not a consistent scorer, but his 17- and 16-point games in wins over Miami and Maryland show the impact he can have. 

If Miller can keep things going against the better teams in the tourney, they're a dangerous team going forward.


Maryland Terrapins

No one wants to play a team with its back against the wall. A tournament bid likely hangs in the balance for the Terps, and that means they'll be giving it everything they have to impress the selection committee.

Maryland has a deadly combination of rebounding (3rd in the nation at 41 per game) and efficiency from the field (46.8 percent from the field). Throw in the fact that they have an NBA talent at center in Alex Len, and they have all the makings of a team ready to earn a tournament berth.

They already showed they can beat the ACC's best with a February win over Duke, but inconsistency has been an issue. The ACC tournament will be do-or-die for the Terrapins. With their ability to clean the glass and play tough inside, it's not the ideal matchup for teams looking to take the easy road to an ACC title.