Previewing the 2020 ACC Basketball Tournament

Mar 10, 2020; Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Tyrece Radford (23) shoots against North Carolina Tar Heels forward Armando Bacot (5) during the second half at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019-2020 college basketball season has come to an end and now it’s time for the conference tournament championship games before Selection Sunday and the beginning of March Madness and the NCAA Championship Tournament. In this piece, we examine the Atlantic Coast Conference and the teams striving to win the tournament championship and a guaranteed bid to the “big dance.” For teams like North Carolina, the conference tournament championships are the only chance for a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

The New York Life ACC Tournament started on Tuesday, March 10 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. with the first-round games. The Florida State University Seminoles are the top seed in the tournament, while the University of North Carolina Tar Heels are the last-placed seed in the tournament.

The Duke Blue devils are the reigning ACC Tournament Champions.

ROUND 1:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Game 1: Pitt 81 at Wake Forest 72

This matchup found the No. 12-ranked team, the Wake Forest Demons, pitted against the No. 13-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers.

Wake Forest came into the game with a 13-18 season while Pitt finished the season 16-16. Wake Forest had the lead at halftime, but Pittsburgh’s Justin Champagnie took command and scored a career-high 31 points during the first-round game to help Pitt cement the victory over Wake Forest.

Pitt will face the No. 5-seeded North Carolina State Wolfpack in Round 2 of the tournament.

Game 2: UNC 78 vs. Virginia Tech 56

The second game of the tournament featured the last place No. 14 University of North Carolina Tar Heels against the No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies.

The Tar Heels also entered the tournament with a 13-18 record, the first-ever losing record for head coach Roy Williams, and the Hokies ended the regular season with a 16-15 record. North Carolina had command of the game at halftime with a 32-26 score and Garrison Brooks, Brandon Robinson, and Cole Anthony made sure the Tar Heels finished strong to win and advance to the next round.

North Carolina will face Syracuse on Wednesday in the Round 2 matchup.

ROUND 2:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Game 3: Clemson vs. Miami

The second round of the ACC Tournament begins at noon EST on Wednesday with the first matchup between the No. 8-seeded Clemson Tigers against the fifth-seeded Miami Hurricanes.

Both teams finished their regular season with a .500 record (15-15) with Clemson losing their last two games of the season and Miami winning their last game.   Clemson is favored to win with a 65.9 percent probability, according to the ESPN Basketball Power Index.

Game 4:  Pittsburgh vs. North Carolina State

The Panthers will play their second game of the tournament against the No. 5-seeded North Carolina State Wolfpack at 2 p.m. EST Wednesday afternoon.

Pittsburgh defeated Wake Forest in the first game of Round 1 by a score of 81-72 on Tuesday afternoon to advance to the next round. North Carolina State comes into this game with a 19-12 record for the season and is favored to win this matchup and advance to the next round.

Game 5: Notre Dame vs. Boston College

The seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the No. 10-ranked Boston College Eagles will face each other in the third game of the second round of the tournament. The two teams are set to tip-off at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday night.

The Fighting Irish are coming off of a 19-12 regular season and are heavily favored to win this round with an 83.3 percent win probability. The Eagles come into the game with a 13-18 record and a five-game losing streak.

Game 6: North Carolina vs. Syracuse

The final game of the second round finds the last-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels plays against the No. 6-seeded Syracuse Orange at 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday night.

North Carolina defeated Virginia Tech on Tuesday night to advance to this round and comes into the game with a losing record of 13-18. Syracuse finished their season with a 17-14 record, winning their last three of five games. North Carolina is slightly favored to win this game.

QUARTERFINALS ROUND

The quarterfinal round of the tournament will take place on Thursday, Mar 12 and will feature the following games:

Game 7: Clemson/Miami vs. Florida State

The top-seeded Florida State Seminoles will face the winner of Game 3 between Clemson and Miami at 12:30 p.m. EST.

Florida State comes into the tournament with an impressive 26-5 record on the season and clinched the regular season ACC title with their 80-62 victory over Boston College in their last game. The Seminoles also enter the tournament ranked No. 4 nationally.

Game 8: Pitt/NC State vs. Duke

In this game, the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils will face the winner of Game 4 between Pitt and North Carolina State at 2 p.m. EST.

Duke comes into the tournament ranked No. 12 nationally and also have a 25-6 record on the season. Some of the Blue Devils’ more significant losses were those that were most unexpected. The 85-83 loss in overtime to SF Austin was the first loss that was probably penciled in as a win at the beginning of the season, as were the losses against North Carolina State in February and Clemson in January.

Game 9: Notre Dame/Boston College vs. Virginia

Game 9 features the No. 2-seeded Virginia Cavaliers versus the winner of Game 5 between Notre Dame and Boston College and will start at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.

The Cavaliers enter the tournament ranked No. 17 nationally and with a 25-7 record on the season. Virginia succumbed to Purdue, an upset by the South Carolina Gamecocks, Louisville, and Syracuse in overtime, Boston College, the No. 9 Florida State team, and North Carolina State.

Game 10: UNC/Syracuse vs. Louisville

This matchup will conclude the Quarterfinals Round at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday night between the No. 3-seeded Louisville Cardinals and the winner of Game 6 between North Carolina and Syracuse.

Louisville finished their season ranked No. 15; they enters the tournament with a 24-7 record and victories in their last three of five games.

THE SEMIFINALS ROUND

The semifinals round of the tournament will take place on Friday, March 13 and will begin at 7 p.m. EST.

Game 11

This game will feature the winners of Game 7 and Game 8 and will be the first game of the semifinals round.

Game 12

The second game of the Semifinals will feature the winners of Game 9 and Game 10. It will air at 9 p.m. EST.

*** The winners of Games 11 and 12 will play in the Championship on Saturday, Marcy 14 to determine the winner of the ACC Tournament.***

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