USA TODAY Sports
Taking a look at who is most likely to win this year's ACC Tournament and why.
The 2013 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament starts tomorrow in Greensboro, North Carolina. Greensboro is the site where the Eagles made their best run at winning the ACC before being beat by J.J. Redick and Duke in the finals. Hopefully this year, the Eagles have a similar run in them because they will need, otherwise their season will come to a disappointing end either Thursday or Friday.
Of the 8 teams that play on Thursday, no team has much of a chance to actually win the tournament this year because never has any team won the ACC Tournament that started playing on Thursday instead of getting a bye into the quarterfinals. Realistically, that will not change this year although Wolfpack and Eagles fans have the most to be optimistic about heading into the tournament.
No. 9 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-12) vs. No. 8 Boston College Eagles (7-11)
In their one meeting this season, Boston College pulled out a 2 point victory at home just this past Saturday. Although Georgia Tech spent the majority of the game leading, Boston College had a comfortable lead in the final minute but Georgia Tech shot well and Boston College made some mistakes allowing the final margin to be close.
Current line: Georgia Tech -1
Prediction: Boston College by 8
No. 12 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-14) vs. No. 5 N.C. State Wolfpack (11-7)
It has been a pretty pitiful year for the Hokies although their bright spot has certainly been Eric Green who is averaging 25.1 ppg. The Hokies' best win of the season came against Oklahoma State on December 1st. Since then they have been competitive against some good teams including NC St who they took to overtime on the road but they have come away with few victories. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack have had a disappointing season of their own. They were the preseason pick of many to win the league and finished 5th. TJ Warren and Rodney Purvis have been impactful freshman but their impact combined with NC State's experienced players like 3 point sniper Scott Wood, just hasn't been enough to make them a top 25 team this year.
Current line: N.C. State -11.5
Prediction: N.C. State by 7
No. 10 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-12) v. No. 7 Maryland Terrapins (8-10)
Wake Forest fans are getting anxious to see improvement under third year Coach Jeff Bzdelik and an early exit in the ACC Tournament certainly won't help his job security but it is very llkely. Maryland has dominated Wake Forest this season, beating the Deamon Deacons twice by an average of 18 points. When Wake started the ACC season off 2-1 with back to back victories over UVA and BC, the season seemed a little brighter and they even ended up handing Miami their first loss of the season when they beat them 80-65. But the problem is that Wake Forest's ACC wins all came at home.
Current line: Maryland -5.5
Prediction: Maryland by 14
No. 11 Clemson Tigers (5-13) vs. No. 6 Florida St. Seminoles (9-9)
Clemson has been very disappointing lately having lost 9 of their last 10 games. KJ McDaniels returned to the lineup for Clemson against Miami in their finale, coming back from injury, which might be the spark the Tigers need to be competitive in the tournament but you still have like the Seminoles in this one. FSU enters the tournament with two quality wins against UVA and NC State. If you stay awake to watch who has the pleasure of getting beat by UNC the following night, you'll likely see a close FSU win.
Currently line: Florida State -2
Prediction: Florida State by 3
The top four teams. The teams that actually have a chance of winning the tournament.
No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers (11-7)
UVA had a nice season in conference so they have gotten themselves into the NCAA Tournament conversation but they are squarely on the bubble right now and need some wins in the ACCT to get in. But don't count on it. The 'Hoos were 9-0 at home in conference but only 2-7 on the road. With no more home games scheduled this season, UVA has no chance.
No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels (12-6)
UNC had a disappointing season by their own standards but should easily advance to the semifinals of the ACCT. UNC is 3-0 against FSU and Clemson this season winning by an average margin of 12 points. But Duke will be awaiting them in the semifinals and ever since the first half of their first matchup, Duke has outscored UNC by 25. With Ryan Kelly back for Duke, as easy a victory as UNC might find on Friday, Saturday might be nearly impossible.
No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (14-4)
Ryan Kelly's Duke team is undefeated this season. Whenever Ryan Kelly is on the floor they are undefeated and have beaten teams like Miami, Lousiville, and Ohio State. Ryan Kelly appears healthy just at the right time for Duke to win some trophies so despite not being the #1 seed in this year's tournament they are the clear favorite and might not even be challenged, winning all game by double digit in Greensboro.
No. 1 Miami Hurricanes (15-3)
Miami has had a great season and was the team to beat in the conference in January. But March has not been as kind to the Hurricanes and it seems that they are not adapting well to playing with a huge target on their backs, the target that Duke and UNC have been accustomed to playing with over the years. Miami enters the tournament only 2-3 in their last five including losses to two bottom four ACC teams, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. In March, Miami has already lost 2 games. This number one seed might be ready to be upset by either Boston College or Georgia Tech Friday, or NC State on Friday.
-- Who's hot? Really no one but BC and Duke have both won 3 straight
-- Who's not? Clemson has lost 6 straight and 9 of 10.
-- Best against top 25? Duke with four wins
-- Worst against top 25? Clemson, BC, Florida State with zero wins
-- Best on the road? Miami at 10-3
-- Worst on the road? Wake Forest with only one win against UNCG (hey, it was in Greensboro)
-- Who wins it all? Duke
-- How many games does BC win? Two, losing to N.C. State in the semis.