ACC Baseball Tournament 2013 Bracket: Championship Odds for Every Team
The ACC featured plenty of parity during the regular season with five teams finishing within four games of the top overall seed in the conference tournament. Add in the fact last year's tournament champion was the No. 8 seed and things should get interesting in Durham.
Coastal Division winner North Carolina is the No. 1 seed and will lead Pool A. Florida State, which won the Atlantic Division during the regular season, is the top team in Pool B and the No. 2 overall seed. A total of eight teams made the postseason tourney.
The tournament will take on a round-robin format. Each team will play everybody else in its group once between Wednesday (May 22) and Saturday (May 25). The top teams in each pool will then battle for the championship on Sunday afternoon.
Let's take a closer look at every team in the tournament and create odds of winning the title for each. First, here's a complete schedule for the 2013 ACC Baseball Tournament, including television information, for the annual event.
|1||Georgia Tech||Florida State||May 22||11 a.m.||RSN|
|2||Virginia Tech||Virginia||May 22||3 p.m.||RSN|
|3||Clemson||NC State||May 22||7 p.m.||RSN|
|4||Virginia||Georgia Tech||May 23||11 a.m.||RSN|
|5||Miami||North Carolina||May 23||3 p.m.||RSN|
|6||Florida State||Virginia Tech||May 23||7 p.m.||RSN|
|7||NC State||Miami||May 24||11 a.m.||RSN|
|8||Georgia Tech||Virginia Tech||May 24||3 p.m.||RSN|
|9||North Carolina||Clemson||May 24||7 p.m.||RSN|
|10||Virginia||Florida State||May 25||11 a.m.||RSN|
|11||Miami||Clemson||May 25||3 p.m.||RSN|
|12||NC State||North Carolina||May 25||7 p.m.||RSN|
|Title||Pool A Winner||Pool B Winner||May 26||1 p.m.||ESPN2|
All tournament and schedule information courtesy TheACC.com.
North Carolina (3-1)
North Carolina is the most well-balanced team in the conference. It ranked first in ERA, second in team batting average and second in fielding percentage. The lack of weaknesses paired with a strong regular season makes UNC the favorite.
The Tar Heels offense is led by third baseman Colin Moran, who drove in 83 runs in just 56 games and led the team with 13 home runs. Every one of the team's starters posted an on-base percentage of at least .376, which helps explain the consistently solid offense.
North Carolina's pitching staff features two players worth of the ace label, Hobbs Johnson and Kent Emanuel. It's a nice advantage to have in a short tournament. It also helps to have Trent Thornton, who's filled various different roles, including closer, and posted a 1.43 ERA.
The team's incredible depth will make it tough to beat.
Florida State (5-1)
Florida State hopes to carry over some of its home success to the conference tournament. The Seminoles posted a terrific 32-3 mark at home, but were just 11-9 in road games. Their success will depend on which version of the squad shows up this week.
The Seminoles are led by the pitching duo of Scott Sitz and Luke Weaver. They combined to go 15-3 with an ERA below 2.00. A key factor will be the emergence of a third reliable arm. Brandon Leibrandt and Peter Miller weren't able to match the impact of the top two starters.
On offense, Florida State features a good mix of players who can get on base with power. Marcus Davis and Stephen McGee totaled 17 homers and nearly 100 runs batted in. The lack of speed means the Seminoles can't afford to lose those clutch hits if they want to win the title, though.
Virginia was another team that enjoyed immense success at home, matching Florida State's 32-3 record. The most important factor for the Cavaliers to achieve that type of success in the tourney is maintaining their offensive momentum.
They posted the best team batting average during the regular season. It was thanks in large part to Mike Papi, who led the ACC at .408, 25 points better than any other qualifier. He also got on base more than 54 percent of the time. He's a player who can carry the Cavaliers through Pool B.
The pitching situation isn't as promising. None of the pitchers who made more than five starts finished with an ERA below 3.00. The Cavaliers offense is certainly good enough to slug its way to a title, but the staff must step up to provide at least some support.
Even though Clemson lost the last two games of the regular season to Florida State, it still enters the tournament as one of the hottest teams. The Tigers had won nine straight games before that late skid. They scored at least seven runs in all but one of those wins.
That momentum makes the No. 5 seed a solid sleeper. The offense revolves around a lot of small ball. Getting on base, stealing bases and good situational hitting allowed the Tigers to transform into one of the conference's top teams in the final weeks.
The pitching staff has been equally strong. Daniel Gossett has been the workhorse every team needs, posting a 2.20 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning over 86 frames. If Matthew Crownover can also continue his strong wrong, the Tigers are a threat.
NC State (9-1)
NC State is an interesting team. While there are a couple glaring weaknesses, the Wolfpack have done well to offset them. They don't have much power, but they make up for it with speed. Their starting rotation is shaky, but their bullpen is terrific.
How that translates to the conference tournament is yet to be seen. The only guarantee is there will be a lot of pressure on Trea Turner and Tarran Senay, the team's two main run producers, to spark an inconsistent, yet potent, offense.
As for the pitching staff, the first five innings are vital. The starting pitchers have been hit-or-miss all season, but the relievers have picked up the slack—Chris Overman being the most impressive with no earned runs allowed in 17 appearances.
The upside is there for NC State, but so are the question marks, making this team a toss-up contender.
Georgia Tech (15-1)
As previously mentioned, there's a drop-off between the top five and the remaining three teams in the tournament. That explains the dip in odds from NC State to Georgia Tech, which will garner some added attention as the defending champions.
The Yellow Jackets were the No. 8 seed when they captured the title last season. They are the No. 7 seed this year and are seeking a similar shocking run. They have the power to make it happen courtesy of Daniel Palka and Zane Evans, who combined for 31 home runs.
Georgia Tech's biggest hurdle to success is the rotation. Buck Farmer was solid throughout the season, but none of his fellow starters posted an ERA below 4.13. At least one more start will have to emerge for the Yellow Jackets to make another title run.
Virginia Tech (18-1)
Virginia Tech is another underdog team entering the tournament on a hot streak. It has won five straight and nine of its last 10 to provide a perfectly timed boost of confidence. In an event like this, that's an important factor.
Offensively, the Hokies are capable of keeping up with any ACC foe. The trio of Tyler Horan, Andrew Rash and Mark Zagunis drove in a total of 142 runs while all hitting above .325. Zagunis also led the team with 16 stolen bases.
The team's pitching deficiencies will be tough to overcome, however. Only one pitcher on the staff had an ERA below 3.00, and in a conference where there are so many accomplished pitchers, that's a a serious issue. The Hokies would have to hit their way to a championship.
Miami is the only team in the tournament field with a conference record below .500 during the regular season (14-16). The Hurricanes can drum up some hope based on Georgia Tech's title from the No. 8 seed last year, and it would be a similar shock if they matched it.
The reason you can't completely count of the Hurricanes is Chris Diaz and Bryan Radziewski. The team's top two starters both had great seasons (each had an ERA below 2.00), which gives them a chance to steal a couple games in group play.
Miami's lack of offense is very likely going to hold it back, however. Roger Gonzalez was the only player to hit over .300, and he started just three games. Generating runs against the conference's elite pitching staffs will be a struggle and makes the Hurricanes the long shot.