ACC Tournament 2021: Round 1 Schedule, Live-Stream Info and Bracket Predictions

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 9, 2021

ACC Tournament 2021: Round 1 Schedule, Live-Stream Info and Bracket Predictions

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    Marta Lavandier/Associated Press

    Once again, the ACC tournament is back at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. No venue has hosted the tourney more, and it was the site of the beginning of the 2020 tournament, which didn't get completed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    This year's event was supposed to be held at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. but was moved to Greensboro, which last hosted a completed ACC tourney in 2015, due to the ongoing pandemic.

    The action will get underway Tuesday with a trio of first-round matchups featuring the six teams that finished at the bottom of the conference standings in the regular season.

    The three winners on Tuesday will advance to the second round, which takes place Wednesday. There are four teams that already earned spots in the quarterfinals and won't play until Thursday: Virginia (No. 1 seed), Florida State (No. 2), Virginia Tech (No. 3) and Georgia Tech (No. 4).

    Here's a look at Tuesday's first-round schedule, followed by predictions for all three games.

1st-Round Schedule

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Tuesday, March 9

    No. 12 Pittsburgh vs. No. 13 Miami, 2 p.m. ET, ACC Network

    No. 10 Duke vs. No. 15 Boston College, 4:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network

    No. 11 Notre Dame vs. No. 14 Wake Forest, 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network

    Games can be streamed on ACCNX in the ESPN app.

Miami over Pittsburgh

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The first game of the ACC tournament could feature a bit of an upset. Miami will be looking to get revenge against Pittsburgh, which won 70-55 when the two teams played on Dec. 16.

    Things didn't go as well for the Panthers in the second half of the regular season, though. After opening the year with eight wins in their first 10 games, they lost nine of their last 11 to finish at 10-11 (with a conference record of 6-10). Pittsburgh's only win in its past seven games was a 70-57 victory over Wake Forest last Tuesday.

    Miami also endured some struggles throughout the regular season. Before winning its last game against Boston College (an 80-76 victory on Friday), it had lost six in a row and 10 of its previous 11. The Hurricanes went 8-16, including 4-15 in ACC play.

    However, Miami's Isaiah Wong (who ranked fourth in the ACC with 17.1 points per game) is due to heat up after a slow finish to the regular season. If the sophomore guard can get the Hurricanes' offense going, they could knock off Pittsburgh and avenge their earlier loss to the Panthers.

Duke over Boston College

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    That's right, Duke is playing in the first round of the ACC tournament, which it usually bypasses with a bye.

    The Blue Devils are looking to avoid missing out on the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995, and their No. 10 seeding in this year's conference tourney is the lowest they've ever been seeded for the event.

    While it's clearly been a down season for Duke, it hasn't been so bad that it won't be able to beat Boston College, which finished last in the ACC regular-season standings with a 2-11 conference record. However, the Blue Devils barely won when the two teams met on Jan. 6, holding on for an 83-82 home victory.

    The Blue Devils don't have much momentum heading into the ACC tourney, either. They ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak, falling to Louisville, Georgia Tech and North Carolina and finishing 11-11 (with a 9-9 mark in ACC play).

    Still, Duke is a better team than Boston College. And while the Blue Devils may not last long in the tournament, they'll at least get into the second round, even if it's another close contest against the Eagles.

Notre Dame over Wake Forest

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    Robert Franklin/Associated Press

    Notre Dame was on a four-game losing streak, and then it ended the regular season with its biggest win of the year—an 83-73 home victory over Florida State, which prevented the Seminoles from winning the ACC regular-season championship.

    So, the Fighting Irish are entering the conference tourney with some momentum after that impressive win.

    If Notre Dame is going to make a surprise run as the No. 11 seed, it will first need to get past No. 14-seeded Wake Forest, which ended the regular season on a seven-game losing streak to finish with a conference record of 3-15. The Fighting Irish beat the Demon Deacons 79-58 at home on Feb. 2.

    After shooting 36.5 percent from three-point range during the regular season (which ranked third in the ACC), Notre Dame's tournament fate could depend on how it fares from beyond the arc. That was a problem for Wake Forest in the previous meeting between the teams, as the Fighting Irish went 10-for-23 from three-point range in that game.

    Expect Notre Dame to have another strong shooting night to open the ACC tourney and advance to the second round by again handily defeating Wake Forest.