In this day and age of college basketball, the attention seems to gravitate towards the 5-star freshman that will make an impact not only in his one year in college but how it will translate on the next level. The ACC Champions (Regular Season and Tournament) have been led by senior play, and it will be the factor once again in this year’s ACC Tournament.
Senior led teams from top to bottom will make for an interesting tournament, per usual in the ACC. There won’t be any surprises who will come out as the tournament champions, because the competition level always spikes up this time of year.
My predictions who will come out tournament champions this year:
(12) N.C. State vs (13) Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons look to be on the upswing based on how well they played in the non-conference play at the start of the season to see it fall apart in conference games. After winning against N.C. State at home by 3, the Deacons lost 11 straight and 14 out of 15. Unless they find answer for N.C. State guard Anthony “Cat” Barber and their shooting woes; the Deacons will make it 15 losses out of 16 games. I have N.C. State comfortably winning.
(11) Florida State vs (14) Boston College
Leonard Hamilton Head Coach of Florida State will have his team ready. Florida State has had some good wins and solid play, as for the Eagles couldn’t sniff out a single victory in ACC play this season. Easy win for the Seminoles.
(8) Pittsburgh vs (9) Syracuse
Both teams are on a down slide not playing very good basketball as of late. The Panthers did put together a great performance at home against Duke; routing the Blue Devils, and they beat up on the Orange in the Carrier Dome a few weeks ago. But I have the Orange coming on strong and Jim Boeheim 2-3 zone will force Pittsburgh to shoot a low percentage. Senior guards Michael Gbinje and Trevor Cooney will play well enough to lead the Orange to a win.
(5) Duke vs (12) N.C. State
If Duke can’t stop “Cat” Barber from penetrating and keep the game in the half court the Wolfpack can pull out a win, but the Blue Devils have been playing short-handed all season, so they will need clutch shooting against the Wolfpack. The rest since the UNC lost Saturday will be an advantage for them but not in the long run for the weekend.
(7) Clemson vs (10) Georgia Tech
The Tigers should have won both of the games against the Yellow Jackets, but had late game collapses, so they will be looking to avenge that defeat. But Georgia Tech has been playing well as of late, so expect another battle between these two familiar foes. I have Tech in a close game.
(6) Virginia Tech vs (11) Florida State
The Hokies are coming in the ACC Tournament on a hot streak and full of confidence winning 5 straight including a massive win at home against the Hurricanes. The Hokes can surprise some folks; they can go deep in the tournament this year.
(1) North Carolina vs (9) Syracuse
The 2-3 zone will be non-effective against the inside play of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks. Yeah the Tar Heels have struggled all year shooting from the outside, but Joel Berry can get hot from the outside if left open.
(4) Notre Dame vs (5) Duke
The Irish have an offensive efficiency that could be too much for a Duke team who has struggled defensively this season. If Duke can’t make shots, they will be blown out early.
(2) Virginia vs (10) Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets were able to defeat the Cavaliers in their only meeting this season and I don’t think they will go quietly. However, that was in Atlanta, they will be playing on a neutral site closer to Virginia in D.C.; therefore the advantage goes to the Cavaliers.
(3) Miami vs (6) Virginia Tech
It will be great if the Hokies could pull off another upset against the Hurricanes right? But I don’t see it happening. The Hurricanes will be ready to blow away the Hokies.
(1) North Carolina vs (4) Notre Dame
The Tar Heels have too much depth and too much size for the Irish. The Tar Heels should overwhelm the Irish in the post, and Notre Dame’s shooting won’t be enough to compensate.
(2) Virginia vs (3) Miami
Defensive-minded Virginia will slow down the storm of the Hurricanes.
(1) North Carolina vs (2) Virginia
The Hoos are playing the best basketball of any ACC team entering the tournament, and they will ride that momentum to a tournament championship and a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.