The ACC Tournament gets underway tomorrow, with four games that at first blush aren't critical. After all, two of the games look completely laughable – Boston College versus hapless Wake and Virginia Tech against spiraling N.C. State – and the other two matches look to only serve up an opponent for the buzzsaws of UNC and Duke.
But the thing is, since the Thursday went from being the Les Robinson Invitational to an entire slate of games in 2005, the games on that day have rarely gone according to plan. The higher seed is 13-10 in those games; in half of the last six years at least two lower seeds have advanced. So odds are, you'll be seeing a couple of surprise wins tomorrow.
Of course, this year doesn't look to follow the pattern of recent years. Maryland is a weak seventh seed, having basically given up after the Carolina loss and dropping their last two games to lower seeds. Florida State is also a question mark at the three seed, with Chris Singleton at best doubtful for the tournament. And of course, Duke has much better odds as a two seed than recent history would suggest.
As for Thursday's games, I think Virginia, winner of four of their last five, can take Miami; they took them to overtime in Florida. Boston College should have the wherewithal to put away the worst ACC team in a decade. Georgia Tech has Paul Hewitt, with his history of overperforming in the ACC tourney, but that's not enough to get this team by Virginia Tech despite the Hokies' earlier loss in Atlanta. That leaves the N.C. State game against Maryland; The Terps have, as I said, given up on the season, and Sidney Lowe, for all of his faults, has made two deep runs in the tournament from the 10th and 11th seed. (The fact that State has never been higher than a 10th seed under Lowe is, well, a big reason why he's not long for this job.)
Of course, I can remember years where I've picked every Thursday game incorrectly. So take everything with a grain of salt.