ACC Tournament 2013: Predictions for Thursday's 1st Round Matchups in Greensboro

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2013

Feb 24, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Erick Green (11) handles the ball against Florida State Seminoles guard Michael Snaer (21) during the first half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC's top dogs won't hit the hardwood until Friday, but the 2013 ACC Tournament will tip off on Thursday afternoon from the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina. 

While Miami and Duke watch and wait to see which team they'll begin their conference title journeys against, eight teams will face off in four much-anticipated first-round showdowns. Thursday's action will be highlighted by an underachieving NC State team and reigning ACC Tournament champion Florida State.

Below we'll predict all four first-round matchups in Greensboro, N.C.


No. 8 Boston College vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech

Just days after beating Georgia Tech at home on Saturday, Boston College will attempt to keep its season alive by beating the Yellow Jackets again, this time on a neutral court in Greensboro.

But that will be much easier said than done. After all, Georgia Tech came incredibly close to winning Saturday's game on the road in Chestnut Hill, and that's despite shooting just seven free throws to Boston College's 25.

Expect the free throw disparity to even out in North Carolina on Thursday, where the Yellow Jackets could have more of a home-court advantage in terms of crowd support.

If that's enough to convince you that Georgia Tech should be the favorite to advance, then take a look at the rebounding edge: The Yellow Jackets rank third in the ACC in rebounds per game this season (37.4) while the Eagles ranks second to last in the conference (31.5).

Prediction: Georgia Tech


No. 12 Virginia Tech vs. No. 5 NC State

Virginia Tech does feature the nation's top scorer in Erick Green, who's averaging over 25 points per game this season, but other than that there isn't a whole lot to like about this Hokies team.

Meanwhile, NC State was a legitimate national championship contender before the season began, and is still in the mix to win the ACC Tournament. While it may be flying under the radar because of its 11-7 record in the ACC, the Wolfpack is still a real threat at No. 12 in the country in points per game (77.7) and fifth in the nation in field goal percentage (49.4 percent).

Led by C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, NC State should cruise past Virginia Tech for a second straight time this season, most likely not requiring overtime this time around.

Prediction: NC State


No. 10 Wake Forest vs. No. 7 Maryland

It's been a down year in College Park, but despite all of the Terps' struggles in 2012-13, they've been able to defeat Wake Forest twice since early February. 

Mark Turgeon's crew annihilated the Demon Deacons by 26 points at home last month, and won by 10 on the road two weeks ago. Plus, before Sunday's win over Virginia Tech, Wake Forest had lost three in a row and five of its previous six games overall.

So long as the Terps can keep Wake senior guard C.J. Harris (15.3 points per game) under wraps, they should be able to advance to the second round on Friday where they would face off against rival Duke for the third time this season. Keep in mind Maryland is one of only four teams to have beaten the Blue Devils this season.

Prediction: Maryland


No. 11 Clemson vs. No. 6 Florida State

The reigning ACC Tournament champions have been looking strong over their past few games. The Florida State Seminoles have won two straight and three of their last four to pull to .500 in conference play this season and earn themselves a No. 6 seed in the ACC Tourney.

FSU will tipoff championship week on Thursday night against a team it's beaten twice already in 2013, the Clemson Tigers. 

Although the 'Noles' two wins over the Tigers have come by just a combined eight points, they've held Clemson to its season average in both games; roughly 61 points per game in those two wins. And if that's not enough to make FSU the favorite, there's the fact that Clemson hasn't won in a month, losing six straight, including losses to Virginia Tech and Boston College.

Prediction: Florida State


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