I remember a time when ACC Tournament Friday was a de facto state holiday, there was no worthless play in game on Thursday and everyone started the tournament with the potential of playing only three games if they advanced. Then we got a play-in game which was a complete waste of time. Last season, as we waited for BC, three games marked the Thursday schedule. Now that our little conference has grown to 12, Thursday offers a full day of basketball and 8 of the 12 will have to win four games to win the title. Not an easy task when you consider they are also less talented than the top four, but if you want Thrusday off, you need to win all season. The upside of this is that it gives us another full day of games even if they are middle to bottom of the ACC schools. Welcome to the new ACC and the first ever Thursday quadrupleheader.
#8 Miami vs. #9 Clemson, 12:00 PM
Miami followed much the same trek as Virginia where they squandered a positive position in the standings to end up 7-9. Miami is dangerous because they have very quick guards who can light it up on any given night. Clemson is inconsistent and plays some ugly basketball. That being said expect lots of shooting from Miami and ugliness all the way around. Clemson sends the Hurricanes back to Florida early.
Prediction: Clemson 78 Miami 77 , 2:30 PM
#5 Florida State vs. #12 Wake Forest
Following the 2003-2004 season, Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser most likely sat down with freshman point guard Chris Paul and discussed his plans for the future. It was at this point Paul expressed the desire to remain at Wake for his sophomore season. And Prosser, being the astute coach he is spent the next year recruiting for a quality point guard to replace Paul when it was certain he would go pro a year later. Well actually, I made up the last part and that is why Wake finished 12th in the ACC. Prosser's failure to bring someone, anyone in that could competently play the position created this nightmare season. Oh, Florida State is playing really well right now and should have little trouble with the Demon Deacons.
Prediction: FSU 77 Wake Forest 61
#7 Virginia vs. #10 Virginia Tech, 7:00 PM
Who says the standings do not have a sense of humor. The two Virginia school get to renew their rivalry and no we will not be seeing ESPN Full Circle coverage. UVa had a promising moment a few weeks back. They knocked of Boston College and went to 7-6 in the ACC. Then Clemson forced 29 turnovers and won by 26, which was followed by UNC denotating a nuclear device of some sort on the Cavaliers beating them by 45. What was left of Virginia failed to win the last game in University Hall against Maryland. From 7-6 to 7-9 is not the kind of performance you want heading into the ACC Tournament. For Virginia Tech, the defining moment of their season was in December at Duke when Sean Dockery hit a 40 foot shot at the buzzer to robbed the Hokies of a huge upset. The rest of the season has pretty much followed that trend with the Hokies losing close games. This is a tough call, but I think Virginia has enough guard play to overcome the hardluck Hokies.
Prediction: Virginia 66 VT 61
#6 Maryland vs, #11 Georgia Tech, 9:30 PM
The other nightmare season in the ACC belongs to Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets who have gone from second place in the nation two years ago to 11th in the ACC. Maryland's season has not been so much a nightmare as an exercise in frustration. Chris McCray's loss to ineligibility has been pegged as reason #1 for Maryland's woes. Maryland got 8-8 in the conference and needs at see Sunday to get into the NCAA Tournament. The Terps take the first step towards that with a win over GT.
Prediction: Maryland 81 GT 75