The 60th ACC basketball tournament convenes Thursday at its traditional home, Greensboro, N.C. But with a top seed hailing from palm tree and stone crab country, the event could be a showcase for the nouveau riche.
This marks Miami’s ninth ACC tournament, and the Hurricanes have yet to reach the final, let alone collect a trophy. But they did win the regular season outright, securing the program’s first NCAA tournament bid since 2008.
- ACC All Access: Virginia Tech's Erick Green takes player of the year honors on my All-ACC ballot
- Virginia's exhausting NCAA tournament hopes continue in win over Maryland
- Teel Time: All-ACC basketball ballot and player of year vote for Green
- College Sports
- Miami Hurricanes
See more topics »
Will the Hurricanes become the second consecutive champion from that group, succeeding 2012 winner Florida State? Here’s the forecast.
No. 8 Boston College (15-16, 7-11) vs. No. 9 Georgia Tech (16-14, 6-12): This matchup is expansion-fueled scheduling weirdness at its finest. The Eagles and Yellow Jackets did not meet until Saturday’s regular-season finale, and five days later, here they are again.
Boston College won Saturday’s game, 74-72, thanks to 55-percent shooting, 70 percent in the second half. Freshmen guards Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon combined for 29 points, nine assists, nine rebounds and four steals.
The Eagles enter the tournament on a three-game winning streak, matched only by Duke. Boston College starts two freshmen and two sophomores; Georgia Tech starts three rookies, youth that precludes any reliable handicapping.
The pick: Boston College.
No. 5 North Carolina State (22-9, 11-7) vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech (13-18, 4-14): The Hokies played one of their best road games in a 90-86 overtime setback to the Wolfpack last month as Jarell Eddie (17 points) and Marshall Wood (14) supplemented Erick Green’s standard excellence (29 points).
But Virginia Tech hasn’t won away from Cassell Coliseum since Jan. 12 at Georgia Tech and, N.C. State’s inconsistencies aside, there’s little reason to expect that to change.
The pick: N.C. State.
No. 7 Maryland (20-11, 8-10) vs. No. 10 Wake Forest (13-17, 6-12): The Terps’ 67.3 percent shooting in an 86-60 rout of the Deacons in February was the highest for any ACC team in any game this season. Maryland followed with a 67-57 victory at Wake earlier this month, again using its defensive length to disrupt the Deacons.
Wake scored a season-high 90 points at home Sunday against defenseless Virginia Tech, but the Deacons are 2-12 away from Joel Coliseum, 0-9 against ACC competition.
The pick: Maryland.
No. 6 Florida State (17-14, 9-9) vs. No. 11 Clemson (13-17, 5-13): A six-game skid to close the regular season saddled the Tigers with their worst ACC finish since 2004. Conversely, the defending champion Seminoles have won three of the last four, their best stretch of the conference schedule.
Florida State swept two January games against Clemson by a combined eight points and has tournament-forged veterans such as Michael Snaer, Okaro White and Ian Miller.
The pick: Florida State.
Boston College vs. No. 1 Miami: The tournament’s top seed hasn’t lost its opening game since 1997, when Duke stumbled against N.C. State. Three recent defeats notwithstanding, don’t expect the Hurricanes to join that company.