Things to Expect for the 2015 ACC Tournament


Grab the sweet tea, dance ticket and map of Tobacco Road—the ACC Tournament is here. This conference tournament may be just a formal affair in other parts of the country but in the Atlantic Coast Conference, it means something. And these do wins matter. Without being victorious in the ACC Tournament, midnight would have struck early for Jim Valvano and the cinderella NC State Wolf Pack in 1983…but that’s another story. The first game tips off at 1pm Tuesday while the last tip will take place Saturday at 8:30pm. Here’s what to expect for the 2015 ACC Tournament.

#1: One Of The Most Competitive Fields In Recent Memory

The Atlantic Coast Conference has five teams in the Top 25. That ties the Big 12 as most in the nation. The ACC however, has two of the top three teams in the land: #2 Duke and #3 Virginia. The Big 12’s top team is #9 Kansas.

The ACC’s top guns include #2 Duke, #3 UVA, #11 Notre Dame, #14 Louisville and #19 UNC. This doesn’t include the fact that Miami sits a single game behind Chapel Hill and has a win over then #4 Duke as well as a double-overtime, two point loss to then #3 UVA.

The point is, there are six incredibly good teams in this conference. Every one of them can go on a hot streak at any given time and beat anyone else. And, most interestingly, all of them six teams have played poorly at some stretch of the season. There is no dominant team.

#2: Competition Breeds Strong Contenders

The University of Kentucky has quietly cruised to a #1 seed and an undefeated 31-0 season. The Wildcats’ Used Car Salesman Lookalike Coach Calipari has done a good job preparing his one-and-done players this season.

UK has dominated the SEC. That wasn’t surprising. What is surprising is that there is only a single other SEC team to be in the Top 25. The University of Arkansas is #21.

So while UNC, UVA, Duke and the likes are battling some of the top teams in the nation on a game-by-game basis, teams like Kentucky aren’t. It’s as if the Wildcats are an NFL team that has sealed home field advantage for the playoffs before the regular season is over. Most teams would choose whether to start their QB during the games that don’t matter or rest him before playoffs start. Kentucky however, doesn’t have that option because their conference is weak. Every game is a slam dunk.

This could help ACC teams and hurt UK come dancing time.

#3: Dangerous Conference Sleepers

Tuesday’s games are Georgia Tech vs. Boston College and  Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech. It won’t really matter who wins but I’d bet BC and Wake Forest. The smart money however, is on knowing neither of those squads will make it past Wednesday.

More from North Carolina Tar Heels

For second round, UNC will move on. NC State will most likely bounce Pitt for the sheer fact the Wolfpack are riding momentum from the last couple weeks of the season. Miami will cruise and Chapel Hill fans are crossing fingers that Clemson takes FSU. That burnt orange isn’t a great color on anyone but the real reason is that nobody likes playing Florida State this time of year. Call it bad memories if you want. That team likes to post miracles.

Thursday’s quarterfinals see the heavy hitters rested and waiting for new prey. Louisville, UVA, Notre Dame, and Duke take on all new comers. The only two teams from the second round to stand a chance making it out of the third round alive are UNC and Miami.

This ACC tournament should make for a great one. Cross our fingers for Chapel Hill but be sure to watch for sleepers like Miami.