The ACC Tournament begins today with 15 teams looking to claim the conference title and punch their berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Boston College is looked at as a team that no one really wants to play despite their second to last place finish in the league. BC managed 3 road wins this season including one against then-unbeaten Syracuse. Also, Olivier Hanlan scored an ACC Tournament record 41 points against Georgia Tech in the opening round last season. But, throughout this season BC has underperformed. That doesn't change the fact that BC is a team that relies heavily on the three-point shot and has the potential to score points in bunches when they get hot.
The Eagles have been and are, in this tournament, a team that can beat any team in the league on the right day. BC starts the tournament playing in the last game of the first day and will have to win five games in five days if it hopes to extend its season. Unfortunately for Superfans everywhere BC has no chance of actually winning the tournament because of their lack of depth. BC has a good chance of beating Georgia Tech Wednesday then has almost equally good of a chance to beat Clemson the next day. Day 3 would bring a matchup against Duke. BC could beat Duke too, but really them winning there four or five games back to back to back is impossible because they do not have the depth for that kind of run.
The four teams that have a real chance of winning the tournament all don't play until Thursday. The 5th seed Pitt has not been playing their best basketball lately and will not be able to put together four straight wins. Clemson, the sixth seed, just lost at home to Pitt and is not even on the bubble for the NCAA. Certainly no one seeded below Clemson has a legitimate shot to win the tournament even though N.C. State has the league's leading scorer.
Now the teams that do have a chance:
For a stretch this season UNC looked like the best team in the league. The only problem is during that stretch they only beat Duke of the other top 3 teams in the league.
Duke has a great chance of winning the tournament. They have done it plenty of times in recent history and have the best player in the league from the perspective of being an NBA prospect in Jabari Parker. Coach K is also the best coach in the league in this tournament. The only problem is they do rely heavily on the 3. If they go cold they could be bounced by anyone they play.
Which Syracuse will we see? Since losing to Boston College Syracuse has struggled. Also, Jim Boeheim has had many of his best NCAA Tournament runs after getting bounced from the Big East tournament early. Which tournament is Syracuse most concerned with?
Despite being the #1 seed, not too many people would be surprised if someone other than the Cavaliers walk away with the trophy. Virginia did play a fairly weak schedule this year in the ACC. The teams that they had to play twice included Florida State, Maryland, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. All four of these teams finished in the bottom half of the league.
So if I had to bet on who wins the 2014 tournament I would take Duke, but not very confidently as I really think any of the top 4 seeds could be the winner.