The 2014 ACC tournament is looking like one of the most exciting conference tourneys in the nation, as three new teams are making their debut and a host of elite talent will be involved in this prestigious event.
Conference newcomers Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame will be making their first-ever appearances in the Greensboro-based tournament, while old stalwarts like Duke and North Carolina vie to knock out top-seeded Virginia and win the title.
Let’s take a look at what programs will be in action on the first day, highlight where you can watch and live stream every game and make some predictions on the outcome of these games.
Schedule and Viewing Guide
*The ACC tournament can be live streamed on ESPN3.
|Game No.||Date/Time (ET)||Team||Team||TV||Prediction|
|1||March 12 at 1 p.m.||12 Wake Forest||13 Notre Dame||ESPN2/ACC Network||WF 70 - ND 67|
|2||March 12 at 3:30 p.m.||10 Miami||15 Virginia Tech||ESPN2/ACC Network||VT 57 - Miami 56|
|3||March 12 at 7 p.m.||11 Georgia Tech||14 Boston College||ESPN2/ACC Network||GT 66 - BC 54|
|Game No.||Date/Time (ET)||Team||Team||TV|
|4||March 13 at 12 p.m.||8 Maryland||9 Florida State||ESPNU/ACC Network|
|5||March 13 at 2 p.m.||5 Pittsburgh||Game 1 Winner||ESPNU/ACC Network|
|6||March 13 at 7 p.m.||7 NC State||Game 2 Winner||ESPNU/ACC Network|
|7||March 13 at 9 p.m.||6 Clemson||Game 3 Winner||ESPNU/ACC Network|
|8||March 14 at 12 p.m.||1 Virginia||Game 4 Winner||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|9||March 14 at 2 p.m.||4 North Carolina||Game 5 Winner||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|10||March 14 at 7 p.m.||2 Syracuse||Game 6 Winner||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|11||March 14 at 9 p.m.||3 Duke||Game 7 Winner||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|12||March 15 at 1 p.m.||Game 8 Winner||Game 9 Winner||ESPN/ACC Network|
|13||March 15 at 3 p.m.||Game 10 Winner||Game 11 Winner||ESPN/ACC Network|
|14||March 16 at 7 p.m.||Game 12 Winner||Game 13 Winner||ESPN/ACC Network|
Your 2014 ACC Tournament Bracket pic.twitter.com/qAoumgt67L— Pack Pride (@PackPride) March 10, 2014
Full bracket can be found at TheACC.com.
Day 1 In-Depth Predictions
No. 12 Wake Forest over No. 13 Notre Dame
The Demon Deacons may have had some rough patches during conference play (including a seven-game losing streak), but this team is more than skilled enough to knock out a slumping Fighting Irish opponent in the ACC tournament.
Wake handled business against Notre Dame in Winston-Salem earlier this season, defending the home court with a 65-58 win. Devin Thomas was the hero of that contest, dropping 21 points to help his side past the Irish.
The school posted a video of the performance and noted that the young man hit each of his first 10 shots in the game, finishing 10-of-11 total:
Devin Thomas made his first 10 shots from the field against Notre Dame. Watch every one of them! VIDEO: http://t.co/KYCW0xWAu4— Wake Basketball (@TieDyeNation) January 25, 2014
Thomas seemed disappointed after that game that he missed his final attempt, as per WakeForestSports.com: "I made my first couple of shots, which gave me a lot of confidence. Unfortunately I missed one shot, but we still got the win."
Which team will win this matchup?
Notre Dame simply had no answer for the sophomore forward, who has been quiet over the past two games. While Thomas averages 11.0 points, he’s mustered a mere nine total points against Miami and Duke to close the 2013-14 regular season.
Despite Thomas’ no-show, the Demon Deacons rallied around starting forward Travis McKie and key reserve Tyler Cavanaugh to get a signature, double-digit win against the Blue Devils on March 5.
While the team suffered a letdown against the Hurricanes, it should still have plenty of confidence stemming from the Duke game to carry over to the tournament.
Expect Thomas to break out in a big way, potentially equaling or exceeding that 21-point outing (his second-highest scoring mark of the season) to help put the Demon Decons in to the next round.
No. 15 Virginia Tech over No. 10 Miami
There doesn’t seem to be much room for upsets early on during the ACC tournament, but it’s definitely possible to project the Hokies ousting the Hurricanes on Wednesday.
V-Tech won just nine total games and two ACC games in 2013-14, with both of those ACC W’s coming against the ‘Canes. The Hokies first ousted Miami back in early December on the road in a narrow, one-point overtime thriller, then soundly routed the opponent in Blacksburg over two months later.
That mid-February win helped V-Tech snap a 10-game losing streak, but also served as the school’s final victory of the 2013-14 campaign. The Hokies would lose six straight to close the season and are hoping to once again reverse fortune against The U.
Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Miami head coach Jim Larranaga is giving credit where credit is due to Virginia Tech for those victories, but believes the results are also a result of his team not playing as well as it wanted to:
Miami's Jim Larranaga on #Hokies: "Some of the credit has to go to Virginia Tech and some of it is we didn't play as well we'd like."— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) March 10, 2014
The Hurricanes are going to have to watch out for breakout star Joey van Zegeren, as the 6’10” Dutch forward has really come on over the past few games. He put up just four points and six rebounds against Miami in February, but is fresh off a 21-point, seven-board showing against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The sophomore also had 14 points and nine rebounds in the team’s penultimate regular-season game against the Maryland Terrapins and should be a force on Wednesday.
Larranaga is certainly aware of this emergence and informed Barber that it makes this upcoming game different than last time:
Miami's Jim Larranaga on #Hokies: "Virginia Tech has changed a lot since even the last time we played them." Notes van Zegeren's emergence.— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) March 10, 2014
Don’t sleep on V-Tech pulling the upset, as it has proved to be Miami’s kryptonite this season. The Hokies look poised to stretch their improbable winning streak to three against the ‘Canes in this ACC tournament showdown.