ACC Tournament 2021: Bracket Predictions Before Final Regular-Season Games
Only four games remain on the ACC's men's regular-season basketball schedule. Then it's tournament time.
After Saturday's action, this year's ACC tournament bracket will be set, but there's still much to be decided in these final regular-season games. That includes the battle for the No. 1 seed, which could end up being secured by either Florida State or Virginia.
The ACC tournament will get underway Tuesday at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. It will conclude with the championship game March 13.
The only teams locked into seeds for the tournament are the three at the bottom of the standings: Miami (No. 13), Wake Forest (No. 14) and Boston College (No. 15). There could be plenty of movement among the top 12 teams based on Saturday's four games.
Here are predictions for how things will unfold Saturday and how that will shape the field for this year's ACC tournament.
ACC Tournament Seeding Predictions
Clemson over Pittsburgh
No. 11 Florida State over Notre Dame
No. 21 Virginia over Louisville
North Carolina over Duke
Predicted ACC Tournament Seeding After Saturday
1. Florida State (12-3 conference record, .800 conference win percentage)
2. Virginia (13-4, .765)
3. Virginia Tech (9-4, .692)
4. Georgia Tech (11-6, .647)
5. Clemson (10-6, .625)
6. North Carolina (10-6, .625)
7. Louisville (8-5, .615)
8. Syracuse (9-7, .563)
9. N.C. State (9-8, .529)
10. Duke (9-9, .500)
11. Pittsburgh (6-10, .375)
12. Notre Dame (6-12, .333)
13. Miami (4-15, .211)
14. Wake Forest (3-15, .167)
15. Boston College (2-11, .154)
Florida State Wins to Secure Regular-Season Title
North Carolina was the ACC regular-season champion in both 2016 and 2017. Virginia won the title in both 2018 and 2019, sharing the latter as co-champions with North Carolina. Now it's Florida State's turn.
The Seminoles are looking to secure their second straight ACC regular-season title Saturday, when they travel to take on Notre Dame. With a win, they would win the championship and earn the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament. If they lose and Virginia wins at Louisville, then the Cavaliers would win the title and top seed.
It's unlikely that Florida State is going to lose, though. The Seminoles have won 10 of their past 12 games, and they have only lost four games all season. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish are 9-14 and enter the matchup on a four-game losing streak.
Florida State leads the ACC with 79.9 points per game, and it's especially prolific from behind the arc, shooting a conference-best 39.3 percent from three-point range this season. Expect them to hit some threes early to build a big lead and cruise to victory in the regular-season finale.
Virginia Finishes with Most Conference Wins but Will Be No. 2 Seed
This season, teams around the country have had games canceled and/or postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact-tracing protocols. Because of that, not every ACC team has played the same number of conference games, so tournament seeding will be determined by win percentage.
Virginia has the most conference wins in the ACC, which is unlikely to change after Saturday. While Florida State should win at Notre Dame, Virginia is likely to win at Louisville. And although the Cavaliers will have a 13-4 record in ACC play, they will end up second to the Seminoles, who will be 12-3 against conference opponents.
If things had gone better for Virginia of late, it may not be in this position. It had a three-game losing streak in late February, falling to Florida State, Duke and NC State, before bouncing back with a win over Miami on Monday.
Even though Virginia may not win the ACC regular-season title, it will still have an opportunity to win the conference tournament. And as the likely No. 2 seed, it wouldn't have to face Florida State until the championship game should both teams make it that far.
Georgia Tech Ends Up with Important No. 4 Seed
Georgia Tech was victorious in its regular-season finale Friday, notching a 75-63 win at Wake Forest for its sixth consecutive victory. However, the Yellow Jackets are still fifth in the ACC standings. And there's only way they can move up to get the important No. 4 seed.
The top four teams in the ACC standings will automatically reach the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, while the Nos. 5-9 seeds will have to play second-round matchups. Georgia Tech, which is 11-6 in ACC play, can move up to the No. 4 seed, but only if Louisville (8-4 in conference play) loses to Virginia on Saturday.
So the Yellow Jackets will be rooting for the Cavaliers, whom they lost to twice during the regular season. Georgia Tech knows exactly how tough of a team Virginia can be to face.
And the Cavaliers are going to help out the Yellow Jackets. Virginia will beat Louisville, allowing Georgia Tech to move up to the No. 4 seed and receive a double bye for the ACC tournament. With how well the Yellow Jackets have been playing, they could maintain their momentum and have a strong tourney showing when they get back on the court.