The ACC men's basketball tournament is set after the regular season concluded on Saturday evening with another fantastic UNC-Duke game, which the Tar Heels won 90-83 behind 28 points from junior guard Joel Berry II.
Here's a look at the ACC tournament schedule, the bracket and some round-by-round predictions.
ACC Tournament Schedule
|Tuesday, March 7||1||First||No. 13 NC State vs. No. 12 Clemson||Noon||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|Tuesday, March 7||2||First||No. 15 Boston College vs. No. 10 Wake Forest||2 p.m.||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|Tuesday, March 7||3||First||No. 14 Pitt vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech||7 p.m.||ESPNU/ACC Network|
|Wednesday, March 8||4||Second||No. 9 Miami vs. No. 8 Syracuse||Noon||ESPN/ACC Network|
|Wednesday, March 8||5||Second||Game 1 winner vs. No. 5 Duke||2 p.m.||ESPN/ACC Network|
|Wednesday, March 8||6||Second||Game 2 winner vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech||7 p.m.||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|Wednesday, March 8||7||Second||Game 3 winner vs. No. 6 Virginia||9 p.m.||ESPN2/ACC Network|
|Thursday, March 9||8||Quarterfinals||Game 4 winner vs. UNC||Noon||ESPN/ACC Network|
|Thursday, March 9||9||Quarterfinals||Game 5 winner vs. No. 4 Louisville||2 p.m.||ESPN/ACC Network|
|Thursday, March 9||10||Quarterfinals||Game 6 winner vs. No. 2 Florida State||7 p.m.||ESPN/ACC Network|
|Thursday, March 9||11||Quarterfinals||Game 7 winner vs. No. 3 Notre Dame||9 p.m.||ESPN/ACC Network|
|Friday, March 10||12||Semifinals||Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner||7 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2/ACC Network|
|Friday, March 10||13||Semifinals||Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner||9 p.m.||ESPN or ESPN2/ACC Network|
|Saturday, March 11||14||Final||Game 12 winner vs. Game 13 winner||9 p.m.||ESPN/ACC Network|
ACC Tournament BracketA printable version of the tournament bracket can be downloaded here.
The favorites should hold serve in this round.
Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Clemson all have shots to make the NCAA tournament as at-large teams. Granted, Wake has a much better chance than Georgia Tech and Clemson, but it's not out of the realm of possibility for the latter two to sneak into the bracket if they advance to the ACC tournament finals.
As of Sunday, Joe Lunardi of ESPN had 10 ACC teams in (including Wake Forest) with Clemson and Georgia Tech listed as teams with an outside shot to still make it.
Meanwhile, BC, Pitt and NC State each had poor regular seasons. They simply don't match up with the three aforementioned schools this year.
Winners: Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Clemson
The NCAA tournament dream will die for Clemson and Georgia Tech in this round. The Tigers will face Duke, which just gave future NCAA tournament No. 1 seed UNC all it could handle in the Dean Dome on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets will face Virginia, which has the No. 1 defense in the nation, per the Ken Pomeroy rankings, and just beat UNC, 53-43.
The same can't be said for Wake Forest, which just rubber-stamped a tournament bid after beating No. 8 Louisville at home and future NCAA tournament participant Virginia Tech in Blacksburg this week.
The Demon Deacons, behind head coach (and former first overall NBA draft pick) Danny Manning and 6'10" sophomore forward (and future NBA draft pick) John Collins, are finding their stride at the right time. On a neutral floor, expect them to take down the Hokies again and advance to play Florida State.
Finally, Syracuse has struggled in recent games, but it has also posted impressive wins over Duke and Georgia Tech, the latter of which was a 90-61 blowout behind graduate transfer point guard John Gillon, who had 10 points and 10 assists. He'll lead the Orange past the 'Canes as he did earlier this season when he dished 11 assists in a 70-55 win.
Winners: Virginia, Syracuse, Wake Forest and Duke
The Cavaliers are one of the best teams in the country, and yet they only finished sixth in the ACC. That's largely due to some bad late-game luck (the Cavaliers lost three ACC games in overtime and two others by a combined six points). If variance finally swings their way, then UVA could be a very dangerous out in the tournament behind its fantastic Pack Line defense.
UVA struggled through a 2-6 stretch recently before beating UNC and then Pitt to close the regular season. Behind senior guard London Perrantes, UVA is a smart, experienced and tactically sound team that should do well in March this year. Expect the Cavaliers to beat Notre Dame in the ACC tournament as it did earlier in the regular season.
UNC should win easily over Syracuse, which is no match for the Tar Heels. The same can be said for Florida State over Wake Forest, as Seminoles sophomore guard Dwayne Bacon should prove to be too much to handle for the Demon Deacons. That was the case when Bacon dropped 23 points in a 88-72 win in December.
Louisville and Duke should be a great contest, perhaps the game of the entire tournament. This one could go either way, but give the slightest edge to Louisville in part because it will have an extra day of rest as Duke plays the day before.
Winners: Virginia, UNC, Florida State and Louisville
UNC has the best rebounding differential in the entire nation, and there is no close second. The Tar Heels out-rebound their opponents by 13.3 boards per game, per NCAA.com, and that will be the difference against Louisville, which is a good rebounding team in its own right but couldn't hang with the Tar Heels on the boards when these two teams last played (UNC won 74-63 and out-rebounded Louisville, 46-33).
UVA will face FSU on the other side of the bracket. When these two teams last played, Bacon poured in 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting. With all due respect to Bacon, who averages 16.7 points on 44.3 percent shooting and is a hell of a player, that stat line is probably not occurring again.
Bacon almost scored half of his team's points in a 60-58 victory then, but this time around, expect him to put up numbers closer to his season averages and for UVA to win an ugly slugfest in the 50s.
Winners: Virginia and UNC
UNC and UVA split their matchups this year. In the rubber contest, UNC should hold the edge. UVA has a great defense, one that held UNC to just 35-percent shooting when these two teams last met, but UNC is too good to be held down to that mark yet again. Per the Pomeroy rankings, UNC has the fourth-best offensive team in the nation.
The Tar Heels also have four upperclassmen in the rotation who remember how close they were to cutting down the nets last season. Expect them to use that memory as fuel in March en route to another Final Four run.