With NCAA conference tournaments here, most fans will be focused on the ACC Tournament. It plays a huge part in determining where teams are seeded for the big NCAA Tournament. A lot of the eyes will be turned to what happens with Duke and more specifically, their star forward Zion Williamson. If he plays, they’re a favorite. If he doesn’t, they still have a great chance because that team is loaded. However, UNC, Virginia, and several other teams are also dangerous. The field is packed.
Below, you’ll find a preview for each of the 15 teams participating.
15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame is the lowest seed in the tournament. That’s mostly due to a rough 3-15 record against the rest of the ACC. That is the worst possible sign for a conference tournament. It’s difficult to see them making it past their first round match against Georgia Tech.
14. Pittsburgh Panthers
PITT is the team that shares Notre Dame’s spot at the bottom of the barrel in terms of record against the ACC. That puts them in the same realm. Barring an upset, don’t expect them to make it past their meeting with Boston College on day one.
13. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
In single elimination cases, you want to pick at least one lower seed to win. A 13 beating a 12 doesn’t sound like much of an upset, but we’re still going with it. Wake Forest has had problems closing out the top teams in the conference, but Miami doesn’t fit that mold. The Deacons should have enough in them to at least make it past the Hurricanes.
12. Miami Hurricanes
There’s one thing holding Miami back above all else. Depth. The team’s bench has been a problem for most of the year and that was especially true in their regular loss to Virginia Tech to close out the season when the reserves failed to score a single point. That doesn’t bode well against a tough Wake Forest team.
11. Boston College Eagles
Momentum usually means a ton in these tournaments. Boston College isn’t riding a positive wave of it, getting blown out by NC State to close out the season. Despite that, they feel like a safe bet to beat a PITT team that hasn’t won much within their conference. Past that? Don’t bet on it because Syracuse is tough.
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Think of Georgia Tech in the same boat as Boston College. They’re solid teams that should be able to beat their day one opposition. Getting further than that is much tougher. They’re also facing a team that usually does well in tournaments in Louisville. A Louisville team that happened to beat them by nearly 30 points this season.
9. Clemson Tigers
Clemson is pretty dominant in NCAA Football. In basketball, they’re good but don’t expect them to go too far in this tournament. Their first matchup is against an NC State team they faced in a nail biter earlier this season. They missed crucial free throws late. We think they make up for that loss, but then bow out against top-seeded Virginia.
8. NC State Wolfpack
The 8 vs. 9 matchups is usually a tossup. NC State has a strong chance of beating Clemson just like they did during the regular season. As noted, we don’t see Clemson crumbling again and picked them to win. Even if the Wolfpack get past them, Virginia is too tough in the next round.
7. Louisville Cardinals
Louisville is one of the top teams in the ACC, but they’re not quite as deep as the cream of the crop. Jordan Nwora is a hell of a player who can get hot and lead Louisville to victory. They should have enough to beat the Georgia Tech team they dominated earlier this year. However, a win over their next opponents would be tough to see because UNC is a great team.
6. Syracuse Orange
In last year’s NCAA Tournament, Syracuse was an 11 seed who held a tough Michigan State team to 53 points and nearly beat 2 seed Duke by keeping them under 70 points. That defense is again their strong suit. Duke and Syracuse split their games this season, with the Orange winning 95-91 in January. We think Duke gets the tiebreaker after Syracuse beats Boston College thanks to the return of Zion Williamson.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies
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It’s official, we are the five seed in the @accmbb tourney! . It marks the fourth straight year we get a first-round bye, the longest streak in school history since we’ve joined the ACC . We will play at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday against the winner of Wake Forest-Miami in Charlotte
We projected Wake Forest to be their opponent and Virginia Tech should get past them. Buzz Williams has kept this team together despite injury problems and made them a resilient bunch. After Wake Forest, we think they surprise folks and also get past Florida State before bowing out against Virginia.
4. Florida State Seminoles
As stated in the last blurb, we don’t have Florida State making it past a tough Virginia Tech team. That’s a tough pick since the Seminoles set a program record in conference wins. We’re just thinking it ends here because Virginia Tech is just such a tough team. However, expect them to rebound with a strong run in the NCAA Tournament.
3. Duke Blue Devils
Zion Williamson. If he’s healthy, Duke feels unstoppable. If he isn’t, the team is still in good shape thanks to the dynamite trio of RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones. Usually, a team with freshmen looking to immediately head to the NBA aren’t good bets in the NCAA Tournament. In conference play, it works better. Look for Duke to beat Syracuse, then get revenge on UNC, and then overcome Virginia in the finals.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels
Roy Williams always has a tough team. We suspect they find their way to beat Louisville. Then, they’re faced with Duke. A Duke team they beat twice in the regular season, collecting a rare sweep of their rivals. Three times in a row seems a bit far fetched. Even with the red hot Coby White, the return of Williamson may be too much and they’ll fall to Duke.
1. Virginia Cavaliers
This is a program dying to rebound. They have the dubious honor of being the first 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, getting blown out by 20 last year. Virginia came out strong this year and have remained a threat all year. Look for them to win their first game, beat Virginia Tech, and then run into trouble with Duke. It’ll be a battle, but we’re predicting Duke comes out on top.