Following a first round filled to the brim with easy wins, fans in Greensboro will undoubtedly be looking for a bit more excitement in Friday’s second round of the 2013 ACC tournament.
With the conference’s bottom eight seeds in action on Thursday, snoozers won by teams expected to win became the norm. The four matchups were won by higher seeds in the first round, and three of the four contests were decided by 13 points or more. The only game that stayed within single digits all day was Florida State’s defeat of Clemson—and even the Seminoles carried a 13-point lead into the final two minutes.
Needless to say, the infusion of top seeds will provide much-needed excitement on Friday. Miami, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia will be taking on Thursday’s dominant foursome and will be looking to accomplish different agendas. Whether they follow the first round’s blueprint and accomplish those agendas is another question, and that's why you won’t want to miss a second of the quarterfinals action.
With that in mind, here is a complete breakdown of when and where you can watch each matchup in Greensboro on Friday.
No. 8 Boston College Eagles vs. No. 1 Miami Hurricanes
When: Friday, March 15, at 12 p.m. ET
Miami’s reward for being the best team in the ACC during the regular season is a matchup against a team that looked pretty dangerous against Georgia Tech on Thursday. Behind an unbelievable performance from Olivier Hanlan, the Eagles took down the Yellow Jackets, 84-64, to advance.
Hanlan scored an ACC freshman-record 41 points in Greensboro Thursday, making rain like a rapper at a gentleman’s club from beyond the arc. The Canadian import knocked down 14 of 18 shots, including eight of 10 from three-point land, as he single-handedly carried the Eagles’ offense throughout the contest.
Despite his heroics, Hanlan leads Boston College into a drubbing-in-the-making on paper. Miami is vying for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, is led by ACC Player of the Year runner-up Shane Larkin and spent much of the season ranked inside the Top 10. Boston College’s win on Wednesday simply took the team to the .500 mark for the season.
That said, the Eagles do have some (very small) reason for optimism. During the teams' first matchup in January, Boston College held a lead with less than a minute remaining until Durand Scott put Miami ahead with free throws in the waning seconds. Hanlan actually stepped to the line with an opportunity to tie the game but missed his third free-throw attempt as the Hurricanes escaped with a one-point win.
Miami has reeled off wins against droves of top-tier teams in the time since, but this game isn’t as guaranteed as one may think.
No. 5 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers
When: Friday, March 15, at 2 p.m. ET
Bubble watch will be in full effect for Friday’s second game in Greensboro. Though North Carolina State is almost certainly a lock at this point, its counterpart Virginia still has plenty to prove to the selection committee.
According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the Cavaliers are currently one of the Dance’s last four at-large teams in. That not only puts them in a dangerous, teetering position that will change based on the whims of conference tournament results, but it also would also give them the distinction of playing the dreaded Tuesday-night slate of games.
Virginia won’t get in based on any superficially aesthetic purposes—Tony Bennett’s squad is one of the most slow-paced teams in the nation—so this game will be absolutely critical. With a loss on Friday, the Cavaliers could very well find themselves as a No. 1 seed in the NIT.
They only played once this season, so it’s hard to discern concrete takeaways without a home-and-home schedule to go by. Nevertheless, the first matchup was an extremely close, slow-moving affair that played right into Virginia’s hands. The Cavaliers clamped down in the final moments and forced N.C. State to shoot just 37.7 percent en route to a 58-55 victory.
But with C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell looking fully ensconced in a groove—the two combined for 37 points and 19 rebounds in Thursday’s win over Virginia Tech—the teams’ second matchup may be a whole different animal on the “neutral” floor.
No. 7 Maryland Terrapins vs. No. 2 Duke Blue Devils
When: Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m. ET
While Virginia is trying to take itself off the bubble with a win on Friday, Maryland will be trying to re-invigorate its dead-in-the-water tournament hopes. With an RPI of 82 and a paltry record of 4-11 versus the RPI Top 150, the Terrapins walked into the ACC tournament with two ways to make the Big Dance: buy a ticket or shock the world.
Maryland got a solid start on the latter Thursday, soundly defeating No. 10 seed Wake Forest, 75-62, thanks to a scintillating second-half performance. Dez Wells led the way with 21 points, and Alex Len added 11 points as the Terrapins outscored the Demon Deacons by 18 points in the final 20 minutes.
Unfortunately for Maryland, it will be running into a college basketball buzzsaw on Friday. The Blue Devils ended their regular season by embarrassing rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill and have looked vastly improved since the return of Ryan Kelly. Duke is undefeated in the games Kelly has started this season but was only 9-4 in the senior forward’s absence.
One of those four losses came in College Park, where Maryland shot 60 percent as a team to get its best signature win of the season. The Terrapins will undoubtedly have to hit the repeat button on that performance to even come close to the Dukies in their quarterfinal matchup—and even then it may not be enough.
No. 6 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels
When: Friday, March 15, at 9 p.m. ET
One of the conference’s biggest disappointments this season, Florida State will only make the tournament if it wins four straight in Greensboro. Michael Snaer has showed a penchant for the spectacular throughout his career as a Seminole, but that seems like a large task even for him this weekend.
Meanwhile, North Carolina is tournament-bound, but its seeding will be partially determined by how it performs against its inter-conference counterparts. The Tar Heels are a No. 7 seed heading into Friday’s action, per Lunardi—a ranking that is either a massive disappointment or a mini triumph depending on who you ask.
For those who saw North Carolina get absolutely shellacked by Miami on Feb. 9, making the tournament at all should be a positive for Roy Williams’ bunch. The team that left South Florida was a complete shell of itself, NIT-bound and seemingly rotting from within due to youth and a lack of forward thinking from the coaching staff.
It’s an overwrought cliché to say the Tar Heels used that game as a springboard, but the team’s switch to a four-guard lineup coincided with that crushing loss. North Carolina has gone 6-2 since that switch—its only losses coming against Duke—and will probably need to win its third crack at the Blue Devils if the sides meet in the semifinals.
But, first things first, a victory against Florida State is necessary. Though the Seminoles have disappointed from their early season expectations, they have pulled off far crazier upsets in the past.
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