Well, this has been a disappointing ACC season that ended in disappointing fashion. Normally, I use this time to put up an ACC power poll ... but the nine weeks of ACC action has pretty much figured all that out. Instead, I will try to rank the likelihood of each team winning the ACC tournament.
1-North Carolina. The Tar Heels have the coveted top seed, are playing in friendly Charlotte and -- most importantly -- have Duke, Clemson and Maryland in the other bracket. Their only two losses this year were to the Devils and Terps while the Tigers nearly pulled off the feat ... twice. Instead, they sit in a bracket where the best team is Miami. First Game: Fri vs Wake/FSU, noon.
2-Duke. As Coach K tells it, the Blue Devils were a basket or two away from beating Carolina. He's right. The team stunk to start the game and stunk at the end of it. Like UNC, all of the teams that beat Duke during the season (Wake, Miami, UNC) are in the other bracket. The Devils get a favorable first game before getting the Clemson/Maryland/Boston College winner. First game: Fri vs Ga Tech/Virginia, 7pm
3-Clemson. The Tigers aren't exactly rolling into the tournament, but I can see them winning this thing. Amazing, since they never have. However, their first game will be against one of two teams that are really struggling. After that, most likely Duke. Not an easy game, but Clemson's trapping style will really test Duke's ballhandling ... especially after playing on consecutive days. First game: Fri vs Maryland/BC, 9:30p
4-Miami. The Canes don't get a first round bye, but do get the reeling Wolfpack to open up. From there, Virginia Tech who they beat in their only meeting. Sure, facing UNC would be a challenge, but Miami does match up better than most and have a chip on their shoulder. First game: Thur vs NC State, 2:30p
5-Maryland. If you are a Terps fan, you can always count on not being able to count on them. When they look great -- the turn around and stink up the joint. So ... maybe they can make a run here? Maryland (who was notorious from crapping out in this tournament) needs this more than anyone this weekend and may actually play like it. Beating BC, Clemson, Duke and UNC may be a tall order but that is just the kind of wild thing the Terps could actually pull off. First game: Thur vs Boston College, 9:30p
6-NC State. No, they aren't the ACC's sixth best team ... but just hear me out. The tournament is in Charlotte, so they will be well represented. They can beat Miami in the first round (they did so in the regular season) and beat Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals (they did that too). Beating UNC is a tall order, but if anyone can pull the upset, it is Sidney Lowe's Pack. Would I put money on any of this? Heck no! But you got to have a dark horse. First game: Thur vs Miami, 2:30p
7-Virginia Tech. How in heck did the Hokies get a bye? Well, they didn't face a grueling ACC slate (they faced UNC, Duke and Clemson just once apiece, losing each time). They could get to the semifinals, but they can't beat UNC. First game: Fri vs Miami/NC State, 2:30p
8-Virginia. Of all the bad teams, they are the hottest. This is senior Sean Singletary's last hurrah and he may be able to do some damage. UVa can beat Georgia Tech and advance to Duke. That's tough (they were blown out in both meetings). First game: Thur vs Georgia Tech, 7pm
9-Wake Forest. Wake beat FSU in both their meetings and hung in against UNC in their lone contest. If this young team can gain confidence, they may pull an upset. First game: Thur vs Florida State, noon.
10-Florida State. The Noles closed by winning four of five and are facing a struggling Wake Forest (who lost four of five). A win there and they face a North Carolina squad that they fought valiantly twice. From there would be Miami or Virginia Tech (they beat Miami twice) then the title game. Likely? No. First game: Thur vs Wake Forest, noon.
11-Georgia Tech. If this was the old days where the bad teams face off against the top seeds in the first round, Tech has a shot. They play great teams close and bad teams ... well, not so good. First game: Thur vs Virginia, 7pm
12-Boston College. Nothing against the Eagles, but they tied for the worst record in the ACC and would need Tyrese Rice to put up 46 points in each game to pull it off. Ain't happening. First game: Thur vs Maryland, 9:30p