Since the ACC expanded to 15 teams and went to the five-day tournament, none of the teams that have played on day one have made deep run. In fact, none of the winners from day one have even won a second game. That doesn’t bode well for these five teams, but then again, there was a reason they finished bottom five in the conference standings.
11. Syracuse Orange (19-12, 8-10 ACC)
Best win: vs. Clemson 55-52
Worst loss: vs. Wake Forest 78-70
Player to watch: Tyus Battle
Syracuse comes into the ACC Tournament right around the bubble, with their win over Clemson in the regular season finale coming at a perfect time. That win did not get them out of Tuesday duty in Brooklyn, however.
The Orange could still use a win or two to firmly get their spot in the NCAA Tournament. They almost definitely cannot afford to lose the opener. If they do beat Wake Forest, then they will be UNC’s opponent on Wednesday night. It could definitely be a scary matchup for the Tar Heels as in some ways, their recent slump started late in the game the teams played two weeks ago. The Orange also have a player who we know can exploit Carolina’s defense in Tyus Battle. Even though Carolina escaped with the win, Battle led all scorers with 26.
12. Boston College Eagles (17-14, 7-11 ACC)
Best win: vs. Duke 89-84
Worst loss: @ Notre Dame 96-85
Player to watch: Jerome Robinson
Despite the 12th seed and the fairly mediocre record, Boston College is not as bad as they were 2-3 years ago. A quick look at their schedule shows no real terrible losses. Other than two to Notre Dame, all of the other 12 are against teams that will make or be under serious consideration for the NCAA Tournament. Wins over Duke and Florida State also show that they could knock a team off.
UNC will most likely not run into them as the Eagles are on the other side of the bracket. While Carolina handed them fairly easily in Chapel Hill, first team all-ACC guard Jerome Robinson wouldn’t be fun to play against considering how the defense has looked lately.
13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (13-18, 6-12 ACC)
Best win: vs. Miami 64-54
Worst loss: vs. Grambling State 64-63
Player to watch: Josh Okogie
The Yellow Jackets followed up their surprisingly good 2016-17 season with a fairly bad 2017-18. They lost games to Grambling State, Wright State, and Wofford in the non-conference, and never got much of anything going in the ACC portion.
They have three wins over tournament/bubble teams, but shockingly Josh Pastner did not get any votes for Coach of the Year this time around.
14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-19, 4-14 ACC)
Best win: vs. Florida State 76-72
Worst loss: vs. Liberty 79-66
Player to watch: Bryant Crawford
Wake Forest was another team to follow up a good 2016-17 with a step back this year.
They are the other team UNC could face in their opener, if the Demon Deacons get past Syracuse. The Tar Heels won that game at home, but it was closer than you would hope against a team that went on to go 4-14 in the conference.
Bryant Crawford led Wake with 17 points that day and finished the regular season as the team’s leading scorer. He had a career-high 29-point effort against NC State a few weeks ago, and is a 36% shooter from three-point range.
15. Pitt Panthers (8-23, 0-18 ACC)
Best win: Uhhhhhhh
Worst loss: @ Navy 71-62
Player to watch:
Cam Johnson Ryan Luther If anyone reading this wants to photoshop the “This is fine” dog with Kevin Stallings ’ face on it, that would be a good thing to insert into this section.
Editor’s note: Here you go, Matt.
UNC will probably not play Pitt in Brooklyn.