ACC Tournament Preview

UNC's title to lose?

I know. UNC doesn't show up for the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels losing in the ACC Tournament in years they win the NCAA title is a long standing tradition. The last time UNC won both the ACC and NCAA Tournament in the same season it was 1982. In 1993, 2005 and 2009 the Heels lost before heading into the NCAA Tournament as a #1 seed. That is not a luxury UNC necessarily enjoys this season with several teams vying for the final two #1 seeds and the Heels needing a three game sweep in Atlanta to leave little doubt. So the question is will UNC come to Phillips Arena intent on winning a title? My gut feeling says yes but that and a dollar will get you a lottery ticket.

UNC winning the ACC title isn't just about how the Heels play. Yes, it would be helpful if UNC plays at a high level but what about the other teams in Atlanta? UNC's primary challenger, Duke, will be playing without Ryan Kelly who injured his ankle in practice earlier in the week. That leaves Duke more vulnerable than they may have been otherwise. Kelly can be a non-factor at times but he also draws opposing power forwards out of the post. His absence means Duke will need to slightly reconfigure their offense and should the Heels meet the Blue Devils again, John Henson will spend more time on the interior and not be forced to chase Kelly around.

Another team dealing with personnel issues is Virginia who lost Malcom Brogdon to a broken foot. That leaves the Cavaliers with only seven scholarship players and minus one of their quicker perimeter players. Brogdon is also a quality player putting in significant minutes meaning his loss will matter on some level it is just not completely clear how. The depth question obviously comes up but given Virginia's tempo not as much as it might affect a team like UNC. Still seven scholarships and three straight days of basketball will be a tough stretch.

The other team in the field that has a legitimate shot at winning the ACC Championship is Florida State providing the Seminole offense makes the trip from Tallahassee. FSU has been a good team most of the ACC season with a few stumbles like the one at Boston College. The Seminoles have also won three games via buzzer beater raising the question as to whether FSU can continue to experience that kind of magic in postseason play. That is not saying FSU has simply been lucky. Making plays is making plays and the Seminoles have made their share. At the same time offensive consistency is not the Noles' strong suit and a potential match-up with Miami with whom they split the regular season meetings could end this trip on day one.

Speaking of Miami, the Hurricanes and NC State are looking to move off the bubble into the NCAA Tournament. To get anywhere near that both teams will likely need to be playing on Saturday. It is possible Miami, by virtue of wins over Duke and FSU can get by should they only win once. NC State does not have any top notch wins on its resume and while beating Boston College is not going to help much(besides keeping hope alive), a win over Virginia will boost the Pack's chances somewhat. In reality, NCSU would need to beat UNC on Saturday to get move off the bubble. And while Clemson is not going to the NCAA Tournament, they will be a team worth watching and could give Duke a headache if the Tigers make it to Friday evening.

If the ACC Tournament follows the precedent set by the regular season, the four days in Atlanta could end up being a completely unpredictable affair. When we get to Sunday, UNC probably is your winner but using the past two plus months as a guide, it would not shock me to see a little chaos, that is if the bevy of 4-12 teams at the bottom of the standings can make some noise.

Our very own Chris will be in Atlanta for the ACC Tournament sending along reports from the ground and doing a little live blogging during the games. If you are a resident of the state of North Carolina enjoy your general lack of productivity at work over the next two days.

The Picks

Doc

1st Round

Maryland over Wake Forest
NC State over Boston College
Clemson over Virginia Tech
Miami over Georgia Tech

Quarterfinals

UNC over Maryland
NC State over Virginia
Duke over Clemson
FSU over Miami

Semifinals

UNC over NC State
FSU over Duke

Finals

UNC over FSU

Chris

1st Round

Maryland over Wake Forest
NC State over Boston College
Clemson over Virginia Tech
Miami over Georgia Tech

I hate going chalk in the 1st round, but cannot bring myself to pick any of the 4-12 teams.

Quarterfinals

UNC over Maryland
NC State over Virginia
Duke over Clemson
Miami over FSU

Really, really think Duke could be in trouble versus Clemson, but think they will pull it out in the end.

Semifinals

UNC over NC State
Miami over Duke

Miami just matches up too well with Duke, especially without Kelly.

Finals

UNC over Miami

Brian

1st Round

Maryland over Wake Forest
NC State over Boston College
Clemson over Virginia Tech
Miami over Georgia Tech

Quarterfinals

UNC over Maryland
NC State over Virginia
Duke over Clemson
FSU over Miami

Semifinals

UNC over NC State
FSU over Duke

Finals

UNC over FSU

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Tar Heel Blog

You must be a member of Tar Heel Blog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tar Heel Blog. You should read them.

Join Tar Heel Blog

You must be a member of Tar Heel Blog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tar Heel Blog. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker