ACC Tournament Predictions
The ACC has belonged to North Carolina and Duke throughout the years. With the 2013 ACC Tournament kicking off on Thursday, March 14, you would expect either of those teams to be the top seed. However, that No. 1 spot belongs to the sixth-ranked Miami Hurricanes, who came out of nowhere to win the regular season title. This senior-led team posted a 15-3 record in conference play to finish one game ahead of No. 2 seed Duke, and three clear of No. 3 North Carolina.
Those three teams along with NC State will for sure be going to the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens in the conference tournament. There are still a couple teams that can earn at-large bids with solid finishes in the ACC Tourney. No. 4 Virginia and No. 7 Maryland are each squarely on the bubble. The Cavaliers probably only need to win one game to get in, while the Terrapins may have to real off a few victories. Competition is sure to be fierce in Greensboro. Without further ado, here are my round-by-round picks for the 2013 ACC Tournament.
First Round – Thursday, March 14 (ESPNU)
12:00 EST – No. 8 Boston College (15-16) vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech (16-14) – This will be a rematch from a 74-72 home victory by Boston College on March 9th less than a week ago in their lone meeting during the regular season. I look for the Yellow Jackets to have their revenge in the rematch on a neutral court this time around.
2:30 EST – No. 5 NC State (22-9) vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech (13-18) – The Wolf Pack won their only regular season meeting with the Hokies 90-86 (OT) in a thriller. I’m expecting a more lopsided result in NC State’s favor in the rematch Thursday.
7:00 EST – No. 7 Maryland (20-11) vs. No. 10 Wake Forest (13-17) – The Terrapins won both regular season meetings going away. They beat the Demon Deacons 86-60 at home on February 2nd before going on the road and knocking them off 67-57 on March 2nd. This is clearly a bad matchup for Wake Forest, and Maryland needs this win for the NCAA Tournament. Look for the Terrapins to beat the Demon Deacons for a third time.
9:30 EST – No. 6 Florida State (17-14) vs. No. 11 Clemson (13-17) – The Seminoles won a pair of close battles with the Tigers during the regular season. They were victorious 71-66 on the road on January 5th, and 60-57 at home on January 24th. They won their final two games of the season over Virginia and NC State, so they are playing well coming in. Clemson has lost six straight and nine of ten coming in. The Seminoles advance.
Quarterfinals – Friday, March 15 (ESPN 2)
12:00 EST – No. 1 Miami (24-6) vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech – The road team actually won both meetings this season as Miami topped Georgia Tech 62-49 on the road on January 5th, while the Yellow Jackets had their revenge with a 71-69 upset road victory on March 6th. The Hurricanes won’t overlook them this time around.
2:30 EST – No. 4 Virginia (21-10) vs. No. 5 NC State – These teams met just once during the regular season with Virginia coming through with a 58-55 home victory on January 29th. This is a completely different Cavaliers team away from home. That’s why I believe NC State gets revenge in the rematch.
7:00 EST – No. 2 Duke (27-4) vs. No. 7 Maryland – The home team won both meetings in the regular season. Duke pounded Maryland 84-64 on January 26th, but the Terrapins were able to pull off the upset with an 83-81 home victory on February 16th. They won’t be upsetting Duke, which recently returned Ryan Kelly, a second time.
9:30 EST – No. 3 North Carolina (22-9) vs. No. 6 Florida State – The Tar Heels won both regular season meetings with a 77-72 road victory on January 12th, and a 79-58 triumph at home on March 3rd. UNC has won six of its last seven coming into the ACC Tournament with its only loss to Duke. It beats the Seminoles for a third time to set up a rematch with the Blue Devils.
Semifinals – Saturday, March 16 (ESPN)
1:00 EST – No. 1 Miami vs. No. 5 NC State – The Hurricanes went on the road and beat the Wolf Pack 79-78 on February 2nd in their lone regular season meeting. I look for Miami, which is one of the most underrated teams in the country, to make easy work of NC State in the rematch on a neutral court.
3:30 EST – No. 2 Duke vs. No. 3 North Carolina – The Blue Devils won both regular season meetings with a 73-68 home victory on February 13th, and a 69-53 road win on March 9th in their season finale. It is simply too tough for Duke to beat rival UNC three times in the same season, which is why I’m taking the Tar Heels in the semifinals.
Championship – Sunday, March 17 (ESPN)
1:00 EST – No. 1 Miami vs. No. 3 North Carolina – The Hurricanes won both regular season meetings with a 68-59 road win on January 10th, and an 87-61 home triumph on February 9th. They prove that their regular season title was no fluke as they take down UNC to capture the 2013 ACC Tournament title for the clean sweep.