Although the best teams in the conference do not start their postseason until later in the week, there were still plenty of quality matchups on Day 1 of the ACC tournament.
The addition of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame from the Big East created an extra round in this historic tournament, which previously was just a four-day event. As a result, the bottom six teams in the standings have to win five games in five days in order to take home a title.
At the very least, all of these squads came into the day looking to end their season on a strong note after what has clearly been a disappointing season.
Miami senior Erik Swoope discussed the potential for a big moment, via Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald:
Every time we’ve gone to Greensboro, we’ve made history. Freshman year, we scored 10 or 12 in a short stretch to beat Virginia. The next year, we went up by 20 on Carolina and they were insanely good, but we lost on a game-winning shot. Last year, we won the ACC tournament. I told our young guys, ‘If you thought the season was fun, this is when the party really starts.’
The Hurricanes are one of the teams looking to make a surprise run at this year's event. Here is a look at the results from Day 1 of the competitive tournament along with a schedule for Day 2.
Day 1 Results
No. 12 Wake Forest 81, No. 13 Notre Dame 69
Devin Thomas put together a fantastic all-around effort to lead Wake Forest to a victory in the first game of the ACC tournament. The sophomore finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a block in the win.
Notre Dame had four players in double figures, but it still was not enough to make up for a weak defensive effort.
The early story of this game was the incredible shooting of senior guard Coron Williams. The Robert Morris transfer was lights out from the outside to help Wake Forest build up a 37-29 lead at halftime, which got as high as 14 with under six minutes remaining in the game.
Jeff Fischel of the ACC and the conference's official Twitter account pointed out that this was not a common performance for Williams:
He ended up finishing with 25 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three-point range.
However, Wake Forest struggled to close out the easy victory as Pat Connaughton led a furious comeback for the Irish, as noted by ESPN:
Notre Dame got it as close as six points, but the Fighting Irish could not complete the comeback.
The Demon Deacons got their first win in the ACC tournament since 2007 and will move on to the second round, where they will play No. 5 Pittsburgh at 2 p.m. ET. Wake Forest lost 80-65 in the two teams' only meeting this season.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish will see their season come to an end with a 15-17 record in their first year in the ACC.
No. 10 Miami 57, No. 15 Virginia Tech 53
Virginia Tech only had two conference wins during the season, but both of them were against Miami. While this one was close as well, the Hurricanes were able to narrowly pull out a 57-53 victory.
Rion Brown led the way for Miami with 15 points despite going 3-of-13 from the floor. Instead, he got his points at the free-throw line, where the team went 16-of-19 in the win.
Jarrell Eddie was the only Hokies player in double figures with 16 points, including five made three-pointers.
Virginia Tech appeared to be in control for the majority of the first half, but the squad could not pull away and only went into halftime with a one-point lead. Of course, it was Miami's Erik Swoope who turned heads with his huge slams:
Both teams struggled to score in the second half, but the Hurricanes got enough production out of Swoope, Brown and Davon Reed to keep a one-point lead in the closing minutes.
Joey van Zegeren had two free-throw attempts to take the lead with 10 seconds remaining in the game, but the 67 percent free-throw shooter could not make either shot for Virginia Tech. Miami then made its free throws to secure the win.
Hokies coach James Johnson thought the end would go differently:
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as he will now be forced to look toward the offseason. ESPN notes what is next for the winners:
Miami split its games against North Carolina State this season with both squads winning on the road. While an NIT berth seems unlikely for the Hurricanes, a few more wins could give them a chance.
Virginia Tech will officially end its season at 9-22 with a 2-17 record in conference. It is clear this team has a lot of rebuilding still to do going forward.
No. 11 Georgia Tech 73, No. 14 Boston College 70 F/OT
After Boston College led a furious comeback to force overtime, Georgia Tech regained its focus and came away with a 73-70 win.
Robert Carter Jr. was a dominant force for the Yellow Jackets, totaling 20 points and 13 rebounds in a winning effort.
Meanwhile, Boston College top scorer Olivier Hanlan was limited to just 5-of-14 from the floor. Patrick Heckmann picked up some of the slack with 21 points, but it was not enough for the Eagles to get over the top.
This game started incredibly slow as neither team was able to score in the first three minutes. Things did not get much better from their, as noted by Martin Rickman of Sports Illustrated:
Things got even worse when the lights went out in Greensboro Coliseum, according to Daniel Martin of CSN Washington:
Fortunately, the lights came back and these teams were able to find a flow to get the score up to 29-25 in favor of Georgia Tech at halftime. The Yellow Jackets continued to apply the pressure and built up a 61-49 lead with five minutes remaining.
While it seemed like this would be enough to end the game, the Eagles ended the half on a 12-1 run to send the game to overtime at 62-62.
In overtime, a Trae Golden three-point play made the difference for Georgia Tech and helped give his side a win. The squad will now advance to face Clemson in the next round.
On the other hand, this is a merciful end to a terrible season for Boston College. The squad finished the year just 8-24 and will now have a long summer to try to improve.
Day 2 Schedule
|ACC Tournament Day 2 Schedule|
|Time (ET)||Matchup||TV||Live Stream|
|Noon||No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 Florida State||ESPN||ESPN3|
|2 p.m.||No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 12 Wake Forest||ESPN||ESPN3|
|7 p.m.||No. 7 NC State vs. No. 10 Miami||ESPN||ESPN3|
|9 p.m.||No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech||ESPN||ESPN3|
View the updated bracket on TheACC.com.
The top four teams remain on their double-byes until Friday, where they will each start their run toward a league title. Of course, Virginia, Syracuse, Duke and North Carolina will all be watching Thursday's matchups closely in order to get an accurate scouting report for their upcoming games.
Until then, the second round features some interesting battles, beginning with a bubble matchup between Florida State and Maryland. Both of these teams have an outside shot of getting a bid to the NCAA tournament, but a loss in the first round will end any hope.
Pittsburgh is also in need of a win to ensure a spot in the Big Dance. This will not be easy against a Miami squad entering the next round with plenty of confidence.
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