2017 ACC Tournament Preview
Location: Barclays Center (Brooklyn) Dates: Tuesday, March 7th through Saturday, March 11th Last year’s champion: North Carolina
You can review the 2017 Bracket here.
The Favorite: North Carolina
The Storyline: This should be an absolute classic version of the ACC Tournament, as a case can literally be made for 8-9 teams winning the whole thing. North Carolina won the regular season by 2 games, which is rare, but by no means is a lock to win in Brooklyn. Florida State, Notre Dame, and Louisville are the other three teams with the coveted double bye, which could come in handy given the depth of the conference. A third Duke/North Carolina matchup on semifinal Friday looks juicy if it comes to fruition. Duke/Louisville potentially as a 4-5 game on Thursday would be awesome as well.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 2 seed and the 3 seed out early, as I like Virginia and Virginia Tech just as much as Florida State and Notre Dame. That double bye is truly invaluable. I’ll go deeper into the bottom of the bracket below when I talk about the bubble, but the 8-9 game between Miami (who beat UNC and Duke this year), and Syracuse (who made the Final Four last year) is a terrific 8-9 matchup. A quick note, there is a lot of talk about Jim Boeheim perhaps calling it quits after this season, so this could be his swan song (not that Syracuse has a ton of ACC history),
Bubble Talk: Lately, the talk is that 10 teams, or even up to 11 could get into the NCAA Tournament, which makes Tuesday’s (Yes, Tuesday) games really important for a couple of teams. Wake Forest, who is considered by most the 10th team to get it, can’t afford to lose to #15 seed Boston College, or all the progress Danny Manning has made would go for naught. They’d face Virginia Tech on Wednesday assuming they get by BC.
Georgia Tech might have to win at least three games to get in, but the fact that we’re even discussing this is a credit to ACC coach of the year Josh Pastner. They’ll take on #14 seed Pittsburgh Tuesday in an obvious must win.
The other 9 teams, UNC, FSU, ND, Louisville, Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Syracuse are safely in the “big dance”.
Seth’s Prediction: Here’s a shocker, I’m going to take North Carolina to win the ACC Tournament. Here’s the issue, who do they beat in the title game? I honestly think that Duke is the second best team (if not the most talented) in the league, hell, maybe in the country. But with the seeding, they’d meet in the semis, as I mentioned above. I’m not in love with Florida State or Notre Dame, and I don’t think Virginia Tech is ready to make the leap here just yet. So I’ll take the Heels, in a repeat of last year to beat Virginia in the Championship game on Saturday night.
(You can discuss the ACC Tournament & All of College Basketball on the BSL Board here.)