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ACC Tournament 2019: Complete Bracket and Predictions After Regular Season

Jake RillContributor IIIMarch 10, 2019

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Kenny Williams #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after a play against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Dean Smith Center on March 09, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The ACC tournament returns to North Carolina this year from March 12-16 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte. The tournament concludes with the championship game on Saturday, which will award an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

This is the first time the ACC tourney is taking place in North Carolina since 2015, after it was in Washington D.C. in 2016 and Brooklyn the past two years.

Virginia, North Carolina and Duke are three of the best teams in the country this season, so it would be surprising to see a school other than one of those three win the ACC tournament.

                

ACC Tournament Schedule (All Times ET)

View the full bracket here.

Tuesday, March 12

No. 12 Miami vs. No. 13 Wake Forest (12 p.m., ESPN)

No. 10 Georgia Tech vs. No. 15 Notre Dame (2 p.m., ESPN)

No. 11 Boston College vs. No. 14 Pittsburgh (7 p.m., ESPN)

             

Wednesday, March 13

No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 Clemson (12 p.m., ESPN)

No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. Winner of No. 12 Miami vs. No. 13 Wake Forest (2 p.m., ESPN)

No. 7 Louisville vs. Winner of No. 10 Georgia Tech vs. No. 15 Notre Dame (7 p.m., ESPN2)

No. 6 Syracuse vs. Winner of No. 11 Boston College vs. No. 14 Pittsburgh (9 p.m., ESPN2)

               

Thursday, March 14

No. 1 Virginia vs. Winner of No. 8 NC State vs. No. 9 Clemson (12:30 p.m., ESPN)

No. 4 Florida State vs. Winner of No. 5 Virginia Tech vs. No. 12 Miami/No. 13 Wake Forest (2:30 p.m., ESPN)

No. 2 North Carolina vs. Winner of No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Georgia Tech/No. 15 Notre Dame (7 p.m., ESPN)

No. 3 Duke vs. Winner of No. 6 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Boston College/No. 14 Pittsburgh (9 p.m., ESPN)

                  

Friday, March 15

Semifinal No. 1 (7 p.m., ESPN)

Semifinal No. 2 (9 p.m., ESPN)

                

Saturday, March 16

Championship (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

                   

Predictions

1st-Round Picks

Wake Forest won only 11 games this season, the fewest of any team in the ACC. However, the Demon Deacons split their series with Miami, beating the Hurricanes 76-75 on Feb. 26. But Miami should be ready for revenge and will likely win the opening game of this year's conference tournament.

Pittsburgh and Notre Dame finished at the bottom of the ACC standings, each only winning three conference games. Although the Fighting Irish own a win over their first-round opponent, Georgia Tech, they will lose this time, and the Panthers will fall to Boston College.

                

2nd-Round Picks

The first game of the round should be the most competitive. NC State beat Clemson 69-67 on Jan. 26. But the Tigers ended the regular season strong, winning four of their last five games, with the only blemish during that stretch being an 81-79 loss to North Carolina, so they will get the win this time.

In the next three games, the higher seeds will prevail. Virginia Tech, Syracuse and Louisville are all a notch above their second-round opponents (Miami, Boston College and Georgia Tech, respectively, in this prediction). No upsets here, as all three advance to the quarterfinals.

                     

Quarterfinals Picks

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Javin DeLaurier #12 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a play against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Dean Smith Center on March 09, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sometimes, conference tournaments don't go as expected. But that shouldn't be the case for the top three seeds in this tourney, as Virginia, North Carolina and Duke (even without star forward Zion Williamson) are three of the best teams in the country.

None of the Cavaliers, Tar Heels and Blue Devils are getting upset here, as they will respectively beat Clemson, Louisville and Syracuse.

The closest matchup in this round is No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech. Both of these teams were ranked at the end of the regular season, as the Seminoles were No. 14 and the Hokies were No. 15 in the AP Top 25 poll.

Florida State beat Virginia Tech 73-64 in overtime on March 5. This time, in another close game, the Hokies will avenge that loss and move on.

                         

Semifinals Picks

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - MARCH 09: Mamadi Diakite #25 and Braxton Key #2 of the Virginia Cavaliers block a shot by Dwayne Sutton #24 of the Louisville Cardinals in the second half during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on March 9, 2019 in Charlottesville, Vi
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Virginia has rolled this year, losing only two games—both to Duke in the regular season. Virginia Tech will give its in-state rival a competitive game, but the Cavaliers are better, as they proved with two wins over the Hokies earlier this season.

Expect Virginia to return to the ACC tournament championship game after winning the title last year.

The next chapter of the North Carolina-Duke rivalry will take place in this round, after the Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils twice during the regular season. However, Duke was without Williamson both times, as the forward suffered a knee sprain in the first meeting between the two teams on Feb. 20.

If Williamson is back, then it's a closer matchup. However, North Carolina may be peaking at the right time, so the Tar Heels pick up a win to create a rematch of last year's tournament final.

                     

Championship Pick

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts during their game against the Duke Blue Devilsat Dean Smith Center on March 09, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Imag
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With Virginia and North Carolina in the final, there could be more than just a tourney title on the line. The winner may also receive the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. However, even the loser could still earn one of the other No. 1 seeds, with these being two of the best teams in the nation.

The Tar Heels will own three wins over Duke, and their only loss over their past 17 games came against Virginia on Feb. 11.

In that meeting, the Cavaliers limited North Carolina forward Luke Maye to four points on 2-for-10 shooting. Expect Maye to have a better showing this time, complementing North Carolina's top two scoring threats, guards Cameron Johnson and Coby White, and lifting the Tar Heels to their first ACC tournament title since 2016.