The ACC has been a baseball powerhouse for years, earning at least seven bids to the College World Series every year since 2009, but it has not sent a team to the Championship Series since North Carolina lost to Oregon State in 2007.
This year's ACC Conference Tournament features the eight best teams from the regular season battling it out for an automatic bid into the field of 64.
We will break down the entire bracket, including a look at favorites, sleepers and 2012 Major League Baseball Draft prospects to watch, to get you set for this year's ACC Tournament.
Where: NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, NC
When: May 23-27
Watch: Regional Sports Network Affiliates; All Games Streaming On ESPN3.com; ESPN 2 (Championship Game)
|SEED||TEAM (OVERALL RECORD, ACC RECORD)|
|No. 1||Florida State Seminoles (43-12, 24-6)|
|No. 2||North Carolina Tar Heels (42-13, 22-8)|
|No. 3||North Carolina State Wolfpack (38-15, 19-11)|
|No. 4||Virginia Cavaliers (36-16-1, 18-12)|
|No. 5||Clemson Tigers (32-24, 16-14)|
|No. 6||Miami Hurricanes (34-19, 16-14)|
|No. 7||Wake Forest Demon Deacons (32-22, 13-17)|
|No. 8||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (32-24, 12-18)|
Pool A: No. 1 Florida State, No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Clemson, No. 8 Georgia Tech
Pool B: No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 NC State, No. 6 Miami, No. 7 Wake Forest
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles entered the season as one of the favorites to win the ACC. They come into the tournament as the best team in the conference and the clear favorite to win the automatic bid to the College World Series.
One thing to keep in mind is that Florida State and North Carolina, the top two teams in the ACC, did not play each other in the regular season. They have clearly separated themselves from the pack in this conference, but we don't have any evidence as to how they will fare against each other.
The Cavaliers put together a strong regular season against everyone else in the conference except for Florida State and North Carolina. They went 0-6 against the two ACC powerhouses, compared to 18-6 against the rest of the conference.
They should make it through their first two games—against Clemson and Georgia Tech—unscathed before a Friday matchup with Florida State. If their pitching comes to life against the Seminoles this time around, they can exorcise those regular-season demons.
|DATE, TIME (EST)||MATCHUP (BEST RECORD IN EACH POOL EARNS BERTH IN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME)|
|May 23, 11:00 a.m.||No. 1 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 8 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets|
|May 23, 3:00 p.m.||No. 3 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. No. 6 Miami Hurricanes|
|May 23, 7:00 p.m.||No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 7 Wake Forest Demon Deacons|
|May 24, 11:00 a.m.||No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers vs. No. 5 Clemson Tigers|
|May 24, 3:00 p.m.||No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 6 Miami Hurricanes|
|May 24, 7:00 p.m.||No. 3 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. No. 7 Wake Forest Demon Deacons|
|May 25, 11:00 a.m.||No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers vs. No. 8 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets|
|May 25, 3:00 p.m.||No. 1 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 5 Clemson Tigers|
|May 25, 7:00 p.m.||No. 6 Miami Hurricanes vs. No. 7 Wake Forest Demon Deacons|
|May 26, 11:00 a.m.||No. 5 Clemson Tigers vs. No. 8 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets|
|May 26, 3:00 p.m.||No. 1 Florida State Seminoles vs. No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers|
|May 26, 7:00 p.m.||No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 3 North Carolina State Wolfpack|
|May 27, Noon||Championship Game|
2012 MLB Draft Prospects To Watch
Richie Shaffer, 3B, Clemson Tigers
Shaffer has been moving up draft boards this spring thanks to an improved swing that has helped him make more consistent hard contact and drive the ball out. He is one of the few power hitting prospects available in this year's class.
In addition to his hitting prowess, Shaffer is also a solid defender at third base. He has a good arm and good lateral movement to stick at the hot corner in professional baseball. He will be a top-15 pick.
Branden Kline, RHP, Virginia Cavaliers
Kline could be a nice project for a team to take in the second or third round of the draft. He has a good frame and a low-90s fastball with a hard, low-80s slider that he doesn't have a good feel for yet.
His delivery is problematic because he stays so low to the ground, thus preventing him from getting on top of his pitches. When he is leaving pitches up, he is hittable. He has the stuff to turn into a good No. 3 or No. 4 if he goes to the right team who can get him to harness that talent with a new delivery.
James Ramsey, OF, Florida State Seminoles
Arguably the best college player this season, Ramsey definitely will be an intriguing prospect for MLB teams when the draft rolls around. In Baseball America's write-up on him, it says that scouts call him "the Tim Tebow of Florida State baseball" thanks to his faith and big-play ability.
Ramsey doesn't have star potential in professional baseball, but he is a solid player with a good feel for the game. His best assets are his speed and throwing arm, which are good but not special. He won't hit for a lot of power, but makes enough contact and has a solid approach at the plate to be an average big leaguer.
Look for him to be taken in the second round, with an outside shot at the supplemental first round.
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