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ACC Tournament Preview: Top 4 Seeds

A quick preview of UVA, Duke, Miami, and Clemson

NCAA Basketball: Duke at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Heels earned a chance to avenge last week’s loss to Miami in tonight’s ACC Tournament quarterfinals. If they want to make a deep run and position themselves for a quality NCAA Tournament seed, they’ll have to go through a few of the top teams in Brooklyn. The top 4 seeds, in ascending order, are below.

Disclaimer: This was originally going to include the top 5 seeds, but since NC State lost to Boston College, we'll just let you revel in their misery.

#4 Clemson

Overall Record: 22-8
Conference Record: 11-7 (Tied for 3rd)
RPI/KenPom/ESPN BPI: 11/18/18
Best Win: UNC, 87-79 (H)
Worst Loss: Temple, 67-60 (H)
Player to Watch: Marcquise Reed 16.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg

The Tigers split their season series with the Heels, each winning on their own home court. Brad Brownell’s crew had done an impressive job of maintaining momentum after losing Devonte Grantham to a knee injury in January. Lately, however, losses in 4 of their last 6 may be indicative of a slowly sinking ship. A rubber match would only be possible in the title game.

#3 Miami

Overall Record: 22-8
Conference Record: 11-7 (Tied for 3rd)
RPI/KenPom/ESPN BPI: 25/35/33
Best Win: UNC, 92-89 (A)
Worst Loss: Georgia Tech, 64-54 (A)
Player to Watch: Dewan Huell 11.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg

Miami broke UNC’s heart with a last second 40-foot heave on Senior Night. Before that game, their best win was...maybe a Bonzie Colson-less Notre Dame in South Bend? Virginia Tech in Blacksburg? Good wins, but nothing that indicates they’re the third best team in the ACC. UNC will hope to return the favor on Thursday night.

#2 Duke

Overall Record: 25-6
Conference Record: 13-5(2nd)
RPI/KenPom/ESPN BPI: 4/3/3
Best Win: Michigan State, 88-81 (N)
Worst Loss: St. Johnson, 81-77 (A)
Player to Watch: Grayson Allen 15.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.5 apg

A recent switch to a 2-3 zone defense has given Duke some stability, allowing them to maximize their offensive advantage in fewer overall possessions. However, despite Marvin Bagley’s 20.7 points per game, the key is still Grayson Allen. In 4 of Duke’s 6 losses, Allen scored in single digits. UNC could meet Duke in Friday night’s semifinals, where they would have an opportunity to avenge last week’s loss (and last year’s ACCT semifinal defeat) and take the season series.

#1 Virginia

Overall Record: 28-2
Conference Record: 17-1 (1st)
RPI/KenPom/ESPN BPI: 1/1/2
Best Win: Duke, 65-63 (A)
Worst Loss: Virginia Tech, 61-60 (H)
Player to Watch: Devon Hall 11.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.2 apg

There is a common belief that there is not a dominant team in college basketball this year. Virginia certainly challenges that notion, as only 7 of their 28 wins have been by less than 10 points. Their style of play has not yet proven to be effective in the NCAA Tournament, but at 17-1 in conference, they are a legit force. UNC could only meet them in Saturday’s championship. UNC is 2-0 against UVA in the ACCT with Tony Bennett as their head coach