ACC Tournament 2013: Biggest Key for Each Team to Advance Past Quarterfinals

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2013

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 14:  Richard Howell #1 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack drives to the basket against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the first round of the Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 14, 2013 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There are eight teams remaining in the ACC tournament, and each of them is looking to prove that they are the best in the conference.

Of course, some teams have a better shot than others, but this time of year is called March Madness for a reason.

In the past 16 years, North Carolina and Duke have won all but two tournament titles. No. 1 seed Miami is looking to be another exception this year, while five more squads are looking to either make the NCAA tournament or improve their seed.

Every squad will be fighting hard for a victory, and each one will have a chance if it follows this key to victory.


Full Bracket


No. 1 Miami vs. No. 8 Boston College

Miami: Defend the Perimeter

When Miami loses, it is usually due to the other team getting hot from deep. Wake Forest hit 7-of-12, Duke hit 11-of-23 and Georgia Tech made 8-of-18 from behind the arc.

However, the defense has a lot to do with it. The Hurricanes need to recover better to prevent open shots. If they do not get hands in opposing shooters' faces, Boston College will make them pay.


Boston College: Give the Ball to Olivier Hanlan

Few players in college basketball history have gotten has hot as Olivier Hanlan did in the first-round win against Georgia Tech.

The freshman scored 41 points on 14-of-18 shooting, including 8-of-10 from three-point range. Hanlan averaged 10.8 shots per game this season, but Boston College needs to give him looks early and often to see if the great shooting carries over to Friday.


No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 5 North Carolina State

Virginia: Get to the Free-Throw Line

North Carolina State has a great starting lineup, but the Wolfpack does not run too deep. In most games, Mark Gottfried only trusts six or seven players to step onto the court.

Virginia has to be aggressive to force the opponent into foul trouble.

The Cavaliers take the fewest free-throw attempts per game in the ACC, but a more aggressive offense will help get to the line. This will then lead to more points for this inconsistent offense.


North Carolina State: Score in the Paint

This has been North Carolina State's strategy all year, but the offense is really starting to click at this point of the season.

Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie are terrific scorers near the rim, and Lorenzo Brown is great at getting them the ball. If this continues, the Wolfpack will be tough to beat.


No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Maryland

Duke: Rebound

When Maryland was able to defeat Duke earlier in the season, the Blue Devils were out-rebounded 38-17. The fact that the Terrapins did not miss too many shots certainly helped, but they also pounded the glass.

This has been a weakness for Duke all year, but the frontcourt better come to play against the No. 2 rebounding team in the nation. 


Maryland: Avoid Turnovers

Somehow, Maryland was able to beat Duke in College Park despite 26 turnovers. In most games, however, the Terrapins were not lucky enough to overcome these mistakes.

The 15.1 turnovers per game lead the ACC, but cutting that number down to single digits will give Maryland a chance in this battle.


No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 6 Florida State

North Carolina: Make Threes

Whether Roy Williams likes it or not, North Carolina has become dependent on the outside shot. This is why the Tar Heels were held to only 53 points against Duke when they went 1-of-14 from three-point range.

Reggie Bullock is one of the best shooters in the ACC, and P.J. Hairston is not far behind. If these two players hit their shots, Florida State does not have a chance.


Florida State: Slow Down the Pace

North Carolina likes to run as much as possible, which will not work out well for Florida State. The only chance this team has is to slow down the game and keep possessions to a minimum. 

The Seminoles must also prevent fast-break points and force the opponent to beat them in the half-court offense.

If this game stays close late, we all know that Michael Snaer can be trusted to hit a big shot for the win.