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ACC Basketball Tournament: Ranking the Potential Upsets

Matt FaulconerFeatured Columnist IIOctober 8, 2016

ACC Basketball Tournament: Ranking the Potential Upsets

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    With the ACC Basketball Tournament starting on Thursday, ACC fans are looking forward to an exciting weekend.

    The marquee teams suiting up are obviously the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils.  Fans of other teams are wondering if their team can be the one to upset one of those two teams and make a run to the ACC Championship.

    Here are some upsets that could happen this weekend in Greensboro:

5. North Carolina State Wolfpack (10) Vs. Maryland Terrapins(7)

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    Both teams have been on a downward spiral lately, the Wolfpack (15-15, 5-11) are 3-4 in their last seven games, while the Terrapins (18-13, 7-9) are 2-5 in their last seven, including three straight losses.

    Maryland needs two wins to get to 20 for the season, but that doesn't appear likely at this point.  N.C. State was a big disappointment in the ACC, as they were a team that had hoped to finish in the top five.

    Maryland won the only meeting this season by a score of 87-80 and should likely win this game, as well.

    However, this could be Sidney Lowe's last game as coach of the Wolfpack and his team will likely come out fired up and ready to play. 

    The Wolfpack will rely on Tracy Smith to carry the team to an upset win, he scored 19 in their first matchup and is a senior this year, so don't look for him to go down without a fight.

    Look for this game to come down to the wire, and it could be the only upset on the first day of the ACC Tournament.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (5) Vs. Florida State Seminoles (3)

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    Virginia Tech (19-10, 9-7) has struggled over the last few games of the season, hopefully setting up what should be a very interesting quarterfinal matchup.

    Florida State (21-9, 11-5) have been playing solid basketball most of the season.  They only have three losses since the start of February, two of which were against North Carolina.

    These teams only met once this season, with Virginia Tech winning in Blacksburg by a score of 71-59.  Jeff Allen completely dominated this matchup, scoring 18 points in the second half to push the game out of reach.

    Florida State should be able to rebound from their previous loss to the Hokies and should advance to the semifinals, but this one will be one of the best matchups of the ACC Tournament.

3. Florida State Seminoles (3) Vs. Duke Blue Devils

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    Whether it is Florida State or Virginia Tech in this spot, this will be a tough game for Duke (27-4, 13-3).  This game has upset written all over it for the Blue Devils, as they have lost to both Florida State and Virginia Tech during the regular season.

    Florida State should reach the ACC semifinals and set up what will be a very entertaining matchup. 

    These teams only faced off once this season, and Florida State was able to defend their home court.

    Kyle Singler has struggled lately for the Blue Devils and Florida State's defense won't make it much easier for the senior star.  Expect Florida State to press Singler, Nolan Smith, and Seth Curry into taking tough shots all night.

    If Florida State can pull off the upset they will need a big offensive performance out of their leaders Chris Singleton and Derwin Kitchen.  If they can step it up on the offensive side, Florida State could be playing on Sunday for the ACC Championship.

2. Clemson Tigers (4) Vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (1)

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    North Carolina (24-6, 14-2) is the team to beat in this tournament after their win over Duke on Saturday.  Clemson (20-10, 9-7) will be looking to take that target head on in a semifinal matchup in Greensboro.

    The Tigers may hate the Tar Heels as much as the Blue Devils do at this point.  North Carolina has defeated Clemson 55 straight times in Chapel Hill and the Heels defeated them in both matchups this season.

    The Heels won both games by a combined 12 points and Clemson proved to be a tough matchup when the met in South Carolina, as Carolina escaped with a two-point victory.

    North Carolina's defense has been lights out in recent months and if they continue to play solid defense and are able to shut down Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant they should escape this game with a comfortable victory.

    However, this is the ACC Tournament and anything can happen, so look for the Tigers to bring everything they have at the Tar Heels.

1. Any Team Not Named Duke or North Carolina Reaching the Final

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    If North Carolina or Duke lose before the championship game it will be a huge upset.  Both teams are in the top ten and are playing for a one seed in the NCAA Tournament.

    North Carolina has six losses on the season but have been nearly unbeatable since their loss to Georgia Tech and the benching (and departure) of Larry Drew.

    Duke has shown flashes of the brilliance that they had last year during the championship season, but have also been inconsistent, including losses to Florida State and most recently Virginia Tech.

    No other team in the ACC is ranked in the top 25 and no other team deserves to wear the ACC crown.

    After watching UNC and Duke on Saturday night in Chapel Hill, both Duke and Tar Heel fans alike want nothing less than one more matchup.

    Not having a Duke vs. UNC ACC Championship would be one of the biggest upsets, and biggest letdowns of the season.

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