ACC Tournament 2021: Round 2 Schedule, Live-Stream Info and Bracket Predictions
With some of the ACC's cornerstone organizations playing below their standards in the 2020-21 season, the conference tournament is full of big teams in the early rounds. Duke worked through the first round and hopes to continue rewarding its devoted fanbase.
Similarly disappointing this year, rival UNC will also be playing for a chance to make it to the quarterfinals. The ACC's two premier institutions rarely fail to secure top-four seeds, so a lot of eyes will be on this year's second round of action.
To start, Syracuse will face a surging NC state in what's expected to be the tightest matchup of the round. The day is filled with four matchups, though, with each poised to deliver major storylines.
Wednesday, March 10
No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 9 NC State, 12:00 p.m. ET, ACC Network
No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 14 Miami, 2:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 10 Duke, 6:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network
No. 6 North Carolina vs. No. 11 Notre Dame, 9:00 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Games can be streamed on ESPN.com and fuboTV.
Syracuse over NC State
A No. 8 meets No. 9 and, fittingly, most expect this to be a very tight second-round contest. While 'Cuse has won both matchups against NC State this season, two factors are not in their favor: First, the Wolfpack are the ACC's hottest team, coming off of five straight wins and, second, it's hard to pull off going 3-0 against the same team in the same season.
But Syracuse has one pivotal edge in this matchup: Buddy Boeheim. The wing is averaging 21 points on 46.3 percent shooting over his last five games, with a wet 42.6 percent from deep (on a whopping 9.4 attempts per game). The Wolfpack may be red-hot right now, but Cuse's Junior should prove to be the difference-maker.
Clemson over Miami
This matchup could have been a harder one to forecast if Miami guard Chris Lykes didn't suffer a season-ending ankle injury all the way back in December. Averaging 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists, the star Senior might have been a key piece for an otherwise-disappointing Hurricanes squad.
Instead, Miami sits at 8-16 this season, while Clemson comfortably holds a 16-6 record. In a tale of opposites, the Tigers have won six of their last seven, while the Hurricanes have won just two of their last seven. It would take a Miami miracle for this to not go the way of the higher seed.
Louisville over Duke
Like Syracuse and NC State, Louisville will need to prove they can dismantle Duke for a third time this season. And, considering the teams' first two matchups alongside recent form, the Cardinals should.
Although Duke stomped Boston College 86-51 in the first round, the Blue Devils had lost three consecutive games prior—including one to Louisville in overtime. More importantly, that second loss to the Cardinals was despite a 37-point outpouring from Matthew Hurt.
If Louisville can beat Duke when Hurts is playing at that level, the team should be able to finish the sweep off in a game where he doesn't put up career highs.
North Carolina over Notre Dame
After narrowly ousting Wake Forest 80-77, Notre Dame meets UNC in the second round, who they previously lost to by just one point in January. Despite back-to-back wins for the Fighting Irish, a similar result to January's should be expected.
While Notre Dame is playing better than their 10-14 record indicates, the team still lacks the fire needed to push past UNC into the quarterfinals. Prior to wins against Florida State and Wake Forest, the Fighting Irish had lost four consecutive matches.
It hasn't been a traditionally excellent season for the Tar Heels, but Roy Williams' team has the poise to move on to the next round.