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ACC Conference Tournament Complete Preview and Predictions

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 08:  Jabari Parker #1 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 8, 2014 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IIMarch 12, 2014

TV Schedule

ACC Conference Tournament Schedule Time (ET)


Wednesday, March 12
1 p.m. No. 12 Wake Forest, No. 13 Notre Dame, ESPN2
3:30 p.m. No. 10 Miami, No. 15 Virginia Tech, ESPN2
7 p.m. No. 11 Georgia Tech, No. 14 Boston College, ESPN2


Thursday, March 13
12 p.m. No. 8 Maryland, No. 9 Florida State, ESPN
2 p.m. No. 5 Pittsburgh, Game 1 Winner, ESPN
7 p.m. No. 7 NC State, Game 2 Winner, ESPN
9 p.m. No. 6 Clemson, Game 3 Winner, ESPN


Friday, March 14
12 p.m. No. 1 Virginia, Game 4 Winner, ESPN
2 p.m. No. 4 North Carolina, Game 5 Winner, ESPN
7 p.m. No. 2 Syracuse, Game 6 Winner, ESPN
9 p.m. No. 3 Duke, Game 7 Winner, ESPN


Saturday, March 15
1 p.m. Game 8 Winner, Game 9 Winner, ESPN
3 p.m. Game 10 Winner, Game 11 Winner, ESPN


Sunday, March 16
1 p.m. Game 12 Winner, Game 13 Winner, ESPN

 

The Favorite

Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - MARCH 01:  Virginia Cavaliers players celebrate against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at John Paul Jones Arena on March 1, 2014 in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Virginia defeated Syracuse 75-56.  (Photo by Rich Barnes/Gett
Rich Barnes/Getty Images

It might be difficult to imagine, but the ACC tournament favorite this year is the Virginia Cavaliers. Sure, the Cavaliers did lose their regular-season finale at Maryland in overtime, but before that they had won their last 13 games, including a 19-point destruction of Syracuse. The field is tough, but the Cavaliers have proved this season that they are the best in the ACC, and they deserve to be the favorite.

 

The Dark Horse

North Carolina

The Tar Heels certainly have been the dark horse of the second half of the season. North Carolina won 12 of their final 13 games in ACC play, after starting off the conference schedule with a 1-4 record.

Many people began to question whether the Tar Heels would even make the tournament, but they have responded extremely well and proved that not only are they a tournament team, but they are going to be a factor in the tournament as well.

The Heels still have to prove themselves against Syracuse and Virginia, but they have their chance this weekend and certainly could pull out a conference-tournament victory.

 

The Bubble

Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 03:  Derrick Randall #11, James Robinson #0 and Jamel Artis #1 of the Pittsburgh Panthers react to losing to the North Carolina State Wolfpack 74-67 at Petersen Events Center on March 3, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Panthers probably need just one win to secure a tournament spot. Pittsburgh gets a bye through the first round and will play the winner of Wake Forest and Notre Dame in its second-round game.

A loss to either of those teams would be disastrous and would leave Pitt fans very nervous on Selection Sunday. If the Panthers take care of business Thursday though, and stay away from getting massacred on Friday in the quarterfinals, then they should be a lock for the tournament.

 

Florida State

The Seminoles have a little more work to do this weekend. Florida State played a strong nonconference schedule and is being left on the bubble for that alone, but it needs some big wins this weekend if it wants to make the NCAA tournament next week.

The Seminoles will have to beat Maryland on Thursday and upset Virginia on Friday just to have a shot at a tournament berth. The Seminoles are likely going to have to win the ACC tournament to get in though, or at least make it to the championship game on Sunday.

 

The Champion

Duke

The Blue Devils did not win the ACC regular-season title, but they are good enough to beat any team in this conference, and they will show that this weekend. The Blue Devils slipped up against Wake Forest last week, but besides that they have looked strong.

Wins over North Carolina and Syracuse over the past few weeks validated Duke and make it one of the favorites to win the tournament this weekend. Incentive will be very high as well. If the Blue Devils do win, they could very well be in line for a No. 1 seed in the big tournament next week.

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