ACC Tournament 2021: TV Schedule and Early Bracket Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

Duke's Matthew Hurt (21) gets pressure from Notre Dame's Nikola Djogo during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in South Bend, Ind. Duke won 75-65. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
Robert Franklin/Associated Press

The Atlantic Coast Conference is going through a difficult men's basketball season compared to its normally high standard. 

Only three of the 15 teams landed in the latest edition of the AP Top 25, and some of the traditional powers, like the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils, are going through rough seasons. 

The down year inside the league may take some of the buzz away from the ACC tournament, but it could also mean some upsets are in store. 

If chalk holds, the Florida State Seminoles and Virginia Cavaliers would be in line for a rematch of a game Florida State controlled from start to finish on February 15.

However, if upsets occur in Greensboro, North Carolina, we could see a few teams leap off the NCAA men's basketball tournament bubble. 


ACC Tournament Schedule

All Times ET

First Round: Tuesday, March 9 (2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m.)

Second Round: Wednesday, March 10 (Noon, 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.)

Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 11 (Noon, 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.)

Semifinals: Friday, March 12 (6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.)

Championship: Saturday, March 13 (8:30 p.m.)

Games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ACC Network.


Early Bracket Predictions

At Least One Bubble Team Earns A Few Victories

The Duke Blue Devils and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be fighting for their NCAA tournament lives in Greensboro.

The two sides are scheduled to meet in a regular-season game on Tuesday. The winner of that contest will be in better shape entering Greensboro.

According to ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi, Georgia Tech is on the "last four in" line and Duke resides in the "first four out" section.

The Syracuse Orange could be in the bubble mix as well, as they jumped on to Lunardi's "next four out" after their Monday win over the North Carolina Tar Heels. 

Typically, the ACC tournament final features the best teams in the conference, but upsets have happened in the first few rounds in recent years. 

In 2018, the 12th-seeded Boston College Eagles sprung a pair of upsets in the first two rounds. In 2017, Duke won the tournament by taking four games in four days as the No. 5 seed. 

Entering Tuesday, Georgia Tech, Duke and Syracuse were seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, in the ACC standings, and if that holds, at least one of them will get a shot at Florida State or Virginia in the quarterfinal round. 

Based off resumes alone, Georgia Tech is the team most likely to make a deep run as a lower seed. Josh Pastner's side has four Top 25 victories, including over the Virginia Tech Hokies and Florida State. 

Duke and Syracuse both possess a single win over a Top 25 foe, and if they do not reverse that form, they could be nervously waiting on Selection Sunday. 

The struggle to get into the field of 68 could be even worse for the Blue Devils and Orange if Georgia Tech extends its winning ways against ranked foes. 

The Yellow Jackets do not have to win the tournament to feel safe, but if they earn one major upset and make it to the semifinals, they should be in good shape. 


Clemson's Defense Makes It Difficult Team To Beat

Most college basketball observers would mention Virginia's defense as the toughest to play against in the ACC, but the Clemson Tigers have a formidable unit as well.

Brad Brownell's side held five of its last six opponents to 61 points or fewer, and it has rattled off a five-game winning streak to be in position for a top-four seed in Greensboro.

If the Tigers are the No. 5 seed, whomever the No. 12 seed is could face a frustrating 40 minutes on the court. 

Clemson ranks 11th in Division 1 in scoring defense. Virginia is the only ACC team with a better mark in seventh place. 

The Tigers concede 61.6 points per game and have a handful of impressive wins over the Louisville Cardinals, Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida State.

In those three victories, Clemson has conceded an average of 57.6 points. If it holds a few teams under 60 in Greensboro, it could make a surprise run to the final.

If Clemson wins out against Syracuse and the Pittsburgh Panthers, it should finish no lower than fifth in the ACC, which could align it in the same side of the bracket as Louisville and Florida State. 

If that is the case, the Tigers may avoid one of the hungry bubble teams and play two squads that it has experience beating this season. 

A deep run in Greensboro that features one or two quality wins could bolster Clemson's seed in the NCAA tournament, which would be a welcome sight if it gets to avoid No. 10 or No. 11 seeds primed for upsets.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from NCAA.com.