Known around the country as one of the best conference tournaments each season, the ACC tournament has already provided plenty of intrigue in Greensboro, N.C.
Following the opening round on Wednesday in which every higher seed advanced, each of those teams had to face arduous tests against some of the middle-tier teams in the conference. Some of those teams in the middle of the conference include Clemson and Pittsburgh, both teams with NCAA tournament hopes.
As for the other teams competing on Thursday, both N.C. State and Florida State came into the day with a glimmer of hope but would likely need to win the entire tournament to earn a chance into the field.
Then there are the teams that entered the season with enthusiasm but have slowly fallen outside of any chance to play during March Madness like Maryland. But as Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon preached, every team has a shot in the ACC, per Andrew Carter of the News & Observer:
"This time of year everybody's got a chance—again," Turgeon said. "If your season hasn't gone exactly like you wanted it to go, you still have one more chance to make it right."
While every team began the tournament with optimism, only one will emerge as the eventual champion. The action on Day 2 of the competition is underway, so here's a look at the results from Greensboro and a look ahead to the schedule for Day 3.
Your 2014 ACC Tournament Bracket pic.twitter.com/qAoumgt67L— Pack Pride (@PackPride) March 10, 2014
View the updated bracket on TheACC.com.
Day 2 Results
No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech
A Daniel Miller jumper with less than a second remaining sent Thursday's ACC finale between Clemson and Georgia Tech into overtime, but the Tigers were able to hold on in the extra period, 69-65.
Clemson star K.J. McDaniels struggled from the field (4-of-15), but he knocked down 10 of his 11 free-throws en route to a team-high 18 points.
And that was the story of the game for the Tigers, who shot just 37.0 percent from the field but hit 25 of their 29 freebies (86.2 percent), including nine of 10 in overtime to pull out the victory.
As The Telegraph's Daniel Shirley pointed out, that was a rare occurrence, although the Tigers have been very solid from the charity stripe this season:
How many times in your lifetime has Clemson WON a game with free throws? Not many for me. Nice gutty win for the Tigers— Daniel Shirley (@DM_Shirley) March 14, 2014
Clemson erased a nine-point deficit late in the second-half, but with Georgia Tech down two on the final possession, Miller grabbed an offensive rebound and drained a fade-away jumper to tie things up. Unfortunately for the big man, he completed the roller-coaster of emotions in OT, missing a dunk to allow Clemson to grab the lead and pull away.
Trae Golden led the Yellow Jackets with 23 points.
Clemson, still hanging onto its NCAA tournament hopes, gets Duke in the quarterfinals.
During the teams' only other meeting of the season in early January, McDaniels had 24 points, three Tigers had double-digit rebounds and Clemson blew Duke out of Littlejohn with a massive second half and a 72-59 victory.
No. 7 NC State vs. No. 10 Miami
ACC Player of the Year T.J Warren poured in 24 points, as NC State erased a late deficit to knock off Miami, 67-58.
The Wolfpack trailed just twice all game. Once, by one point early in the second half for 25 seconds before Warren changed that with a layup, and a second time with just 3:55 remaining when Davon Reed nailed a trey to put the Hurricanes ahead by two.
But Warren and Ralston Turner, who had 16 of his 22 in the second half, scored the next seven points, as the Wolfpack went on a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Following the game, Warren took to Twitter to recognize the pro-NC State crowd in Greensboro:
It was a #pack house tonight!!!— TJ Warren (@T24Warren) March 14, 2014
Rion Brown led the 'Canes with 22, while no one else scored in double-figures.
ESPNU provided an updated look at the bracket:
Turnovers were the story in this one. NC State's pressure forced an inexperienced Miami group into 15 turnovers, which resulted in 26 points for the Pack. On the other side of the ball, Mark Gottfried's squad had just five giveaways for seven Hurricanes points.
NC State will have continue to cherish the rock against the long, active press against Syracuse in the quarterfinals on Friday night.
In the only other meeting between these two teams, the Wolfpack shot just 39.3 percent from the field as Warren, Turner and Kyle Washington combined for 50 of the team's 55 points. In the end, C.J. Fair's late layup propelled 'Cuse to a one-point win at the Carrier Dome.
Still, the Orange stumbled immensely down the stretch, and the Wolfpack have to be feeling confident about scoring the upset and keeping their Big Dance hopes alive.
No. 8 Maryland vs. No. 9 Florida State
Maryland hasn't had the best year in its final season with the ACC before leaving for the Big Ten, but the Terrapins have been working hard to make their mark on the conference before officially departing.
After a win over top-seeded Virginia in their season finale, the Terps had their sights set on advancing into the weekend in Greensboro. Unfortunately, the Seminoles were too much for the Terps as Maryland played its last ACC game in the 67-65 loss.
The Seminoles controlled the game throughout much of the first half as the Terrapins didn't capture a lead until there was 6:30 remaining, but once they gained momentum, they didn't let it go. Maryland shot 7-of-15 in the first half from behind the arch to take a 34-32 lead into the half.
Much of that success was thanks to Seth Allen, who finished with 13 points while shooting 3-of-4 from three-point range in the first half. Meanwhile, Boris Bojanovsky was a beast inside for the Noles, finishing with six points and pulling in seven rebounds in the first half.
Bojanovsky's first half by itself was enough for a career high in one statistic, per Powell Latimer of Warchant.com:
Boris Bojanovsky has four offensive rebounds, that's tied for his career high. And we're at halftime.— Powell Latimer (@Powell_Warchant) March 13, 2014
The second half was much of the same as Florida State jumped out to another early start and carried a lead through the majority of the 20 minutes. While Bojanovsky continued his dominance in the paint, Ian Miller and Aaron Thomas provided the spark on offense the Noles needed.
Miller and Thomas finished with a combined 31 points for FSU. Allen put up 18 points as Jake Layman and Dez Wells contributed another 33 combined in the losing effort for the Terps.
After Maryland staged yet another comeback to tie the game up, Bojanovsky once again took over and slammed one home to win the game. The ACC's official Twitter account provides a look at the game winner:
Center Michael Ojo spoke about his teammate's phenomenal game following the contest, per Lauren Brownlow of Fox Sports:
Michael Ojo on his BFF Bojo: “I feel so happy for him. … After the game, I went to pick him up. I lift him up like ‘Yeah! Let’s go!’”— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) March 13, 2014
Bojanovsky finished with a total of 12 points and 12 rebounds, which marked the first double-double of his career. Not such a bad stage to have your coming out party. Now the Noles will try to pull off another upset against No. 1 Virginia in their efforts to make the Big Dance.
No. 12 Wake Forest vs. No. 5 Pittsburgh
A matchup between a bottom seed and a top seed is rarely a pretty one, but this one got ugly quickly. Pittsburgh's victory was never in doubt as the Panthers ran away early and crushed Wake Forest's hopes throughout the game in an 84-55 win.
Lamar Patterson led the charge for the Panthers with a 24-point performance to go along with his five assists and four rebounds. Josh Newkirk and Talib Zanna also got in on the action with 10 and 17 points, respectively, while also combining for eight assists.
Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon spoke about his team's play on the court following the game, per the ACC Men's Basketball account:
Coach Dixon: “I’m really proud of our guys and how we played... I think our team is playing its best basketball.” @HailtoPittHoops— ACC Men's Basketball (@accmbb) March 13, 2014
While the win was a huge one for the Panthers, the Demon Deacons were left with a sour taste after a lackluster season. The high of winning in the opening round for Wake was replaced with the deflated feeling of having the season end.
Senior Travis McKie, who has been a leader for the team throughout his tenure in Winston-Salem, played in his final game and was emotional as he left the court, per Jeff Fischel of TheACC.com:
The typically sharp-shooting senior struggled on the floor as he finished the game at 0-of-6 with just two points from the free-throw line with just over two minutes remaining.
But that didn't stop the North Carolina crowd from showing their respect for one of the best players in Wake history, as Patrick Stevens of The Washington Times points out:
Travis McKie gets a well-earned ovation from the remnants of the crowd in Greensboro. Admirable career on some less-than-stellar Wake teams.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) March 13, 2014
Pitt advances to take on No. 4 North Carolina, a team that has been one of the hottest in college basketball after getting off to a 1-4 start in conference play.
The Tar Heels will be a stiff test for the Panthers. But after putting together a memorable offensive performance in the second round of tournament play, Pitt might be primed for an upset over UNC.
Day 3 Schedule
|Game No.||Matchup||Time||TV||Live Stream|
|8||No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Florida State||Noon ET||ACCN/ESPN/ESPN2||ESPN3|
|9||No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Pittsburgh||2 p.m. ET||ACCN/ESPN/ESPN2||ESPN3|
|10||No. 2 Syracuse vs. No. 7 N.C. State||7 p.m. ET||ACCN/ESPN/ESPN2||ESPN3|
|11||No. 3 Duke vs. Game 7 Winner||9 p.m. ET||ACCN/ESPN/ESPN2||ESPN3|
The big dogs in the ACC will be rolling out on Friday. After two days of action, the likes of No. 4 North Carolina, No. 3 Duke, No. 2 Syracuse and No. 1 Virginia will all take the court in the quarterfinals.
With each team already holding a ticket to the NCAA tournament along with being nationally ranked, the programs they face off with will be hungry for a signature win to potentially earn a berth of their own.
As the top seeds in the tournament begin their route to the championship, the winners from Thursday's play will hope to carry the momentum into another critical win.
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