North Carolina kept its slim NCAA tournament hopes alive with a dominant 78-56 win over Virginia Tech, setting up an intriguing second round of the 2020 ACC tournament.
Garrison Brooks scored a team-high 20 points for the Tar Heels, who will challenge sixth-seeded Syracuse on Wednesday. The winner of the tournament will secure an automatic bid to March Madness, which is the only path to the Big Dance for 14-18 UNC.
Is it likely? No. But right now, possible is all that matters.
Also on Tuesday, Pitt advanced thanks to an 81-72 victory over Wake Forest. Justin Champagnie scored a career-high 31 points for the Panthers, and Xavier Johnson dished eight assists. Pitt's next matchup is against North Carolina State.
Wednesday is the first of back-to-back days featuring four ACC tournament games at the Greensboro Coliseum.
ACC Tournament Second-Round Schedule
No. 9 Miami vs. No. 8 Clemson, Noon (ESPN)
No. 13 Pitt vs. No. 5 NC State, 2:30 p.m.* (ESPN)
No. 10 Boston College vs. No. 7 Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 14 North Carolina vs. No. 6 Syracuse, 9:30 p.m.* (ESPN2)
Live streams available on WatchESPN.
The first matchup of the afternoon pits Miami against Clemson, and the primary storyline is Chris Lykes' availability.
Miami's junior guard averages a team-high 15.2 points, but he missed the regular-season finale due to a face injury and is uncertain for Wednesday.
Lykes scorched Clemson for 27 points in the earlier matchup, so his absence would be significant.
Granted, the Hurricanes have watched freshman Isaiah Wong develop into a confident starter next to DJ Vasiljevic and Kameron McGusty. They're plenty competitive, even without Lykes. Still, Clemson should be able to handle a short-handed Miami team.
The second contest of the early window has NC State looking for a second win over Pitt in two weeks. Late in February, the Wolfpack pulled out a 77-73 victory against the Panthers.
What should encourage NC State is that it wasn't a good showing on its part. The offense went 5-of-22 from three-point range and committed 16 turnovers, both of which are the Pack's worst performances in the last six games.
If they can prevent Champagnie from repeating his 31-point outburst, a victory should be relatively painless.
While it seems the same should apply for 19-12 Notre Dame against a 13-18 Boston College squad, the regular season says otherwise. The programs played a pair of one-point games and split the wins, most recently a 62-61 Notre Dame victory.
If the Irish allow a mediocre three-point shooting team to create open perimeter looks, an upset is perfectly logical. Boston College knocked down 11 threes in its December win.
Nevertheless, Notre Dame is our pick because of double-double machine John Mooney. He totaled 38 points and 30 rebounds in the previous meetings; BC simply has no answer for the 22-year-old.
The nightcap might be the most interesting game.
Fortunately for Syracuse, it won't have a marquee absence. Elijah Hughes didn't play in the second half of Saturday's loss at Miami but is "100 percent" for Wednesday's game, head coach Jim Boeheim said, per Mike Waters of Syracuse.com.
Had he been sidelined, UNC would've been the easy choice—especially after the outstanding showing on Tuesday.
Put simply, the Heels are getting hot at the perfect moment. They're 4-1 in the last five contests, only falling at Duke in the regular-season finale. Brooks has seven straight 20-point outings, and his presence under the rim can disrupt Syracuse's zone. He racked up 26 points and 14 rebounds in the late February clash.
Syracuse needs this victory as much as UNC does, but the Tar Heels have played at a much higher level recently.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.