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ACC Tournament Pairings Finalized

With Sunday's ACCtion pretty much holding according to plan, the matchups for this week's 59th Annual ACC Tournament in Atlanta are now set:

Thursday, March 8

#8 Maryland (16-14, 6-10) vs. #9 Wake Forest (13-17, 4-12), Noon

#5 NC State (20-11, 9-7) vs. #12 Boston College (9-21, 4-12), 2:00

#7 Clemson (16-14, 8-8) vs. #10 Virginia Tech (4-12, 15-16) 7:00

#6 Miami (18-11, 9-7) vs. #11 Georgia Tech (11-19, 4-12) 9:00

All Thursday games will be televised on ESPNU and the ACC Network

Friday, March 9

#1 UNC (27-4, 14-2) vs, Maryland/Wake winner, Noon

#4 Virginia (22-8, 9-7) vs. NCSU/BC winner, 2:00

#2 Duke (26-5, 13-3) vs. Clemson/VT winner, 7:00

#3 Florida State (21-9, 12-4) vs. Miami/GT winner, 9:00

All Friday games will be televised on ESPN2 and the ACC Network

Saturday, March 10

UNC/MD/Wake vs. UVA/NCSU/BC, 1:00

Duke/Clemson/VT vs. FSU/Miami/GT, 3:00

Saturday games will be televised on ESPN and the ACC Network

Sunday, March 11

ACC Championship Game, 1:00

For the first time, the title game will not have a local blackout, so the ESPN coverage will be available as well as the ACC Network coverage.

Some quick tournament thoughts:

  • The stratification of the ACC is incredible. There are the top three (UNC, Duke, and FSU), followed by the second-level four (UVA, NCSU, Miami, and Clemson) and everyone else. Frankly, I don't see anyone playing on Thursday who has more than a puncher's chance of even making it to Sunday, much less winning the whole thing.
  • Carolina's Friday matchup is going to be with the winner of a game between two teams who won a combined 10 league games, and only 29 overall. The Tar Heels won 14 and 27 by themselves.
  • UNC's Saturday matchup will be far more interesting. Assuming the Heels get past Maryland or Wake, the likely opponent will either be the 1940s-style of Virginia or an NC State team with the NCAA tournament within the realm of possibility. UNC would have to beat either team for a 3rd time this season to make it to Sunday.
  • Speaking of NCSU, the Pack has to like their situation. State needs to win at least two in Atlanta to crawl back onto the bubble, so finishing 5th gives them a chance to pick up one win against BC, and while Virginia is good, they are not menacing in the least. State could easily be playing on Saturday with real NCAA implications depending on what has happened in the rest of the country by then.
  • Other than NCSU, the only other team with even a potential shot to play their way onto the NCAA tournament bubble is Miami. With two wins, one of them over Florida State, the Hurricanes might find themselves in the mix.
  • From a UNC fan's standpoint, a rematch with Florida State in the title game on Sunday would give some closure to the debacle in Tallahassee. Carolina's two ACC losses this year have been so dramatic in their own ways - losing to Duke at the buzzer and getting run out of the building with the unpleasant ending at FSU - but UNC has avenged one of them. Another crack at the Seminoles might be the recipe for a fun ending to the season.

Be sure to follow our coverage of the tournament this week, with our very own Chris Strohsahl reporting from the ground in Atlanta.