ACC Tournament Preview: First Round

#8 Boston College vs. #9 Georgia Tech
Previous Meeting: March 9 – Boston College 74, Georgia Tech 72

Boston College will look to repeat their victory against Georgia Tech
Boston College will look to repeat their victory against Georgia Tech

These two teams didn’t meet until the very last game of the regular season. Naturally, they will play the first game of the ACC Tournament.  The Eagles have won three games in a row to lock up the eighth seed, making them the “home” team

In that previous meeting, Boston College’s advantage came in its aggression.  By attacking the Georgia Tech defense, the Eagles earned 25 free throw attempts to the Yellow Jackets’ seven.  If Boston College can attack the basket with similar success in the rematch, they could punch a ticket to the quarterfinals.

For Georgia Tech, the emphasis will be on improving their defense from last week’s meeting.  The Yellow Jackets allowed Boston College to make 55 percent of their field goal attempts in the first matchup.  By tightening the screws defensively, they can tilt what will likely be a close game in their favor against a Boston College team that has struggled at times offensively.

#5 NC State vs. #12 Virginia Tech
Previous Meeting: February 16 – NC State 90, Virginia Tech 86, OT

Virginia Tech played five good halves in North Carolina this season, going to overtime with both the Tar Heels and Wolfpack while hanging with Duke for twenty minutes. The Hokies would love a repeat of those successes, with a win or two to show for it.

To do so, of course, ACC Player of the Year Erick Green will need some help from his friends.  It’s been a repeated theme in these previews this season, but it is always the talking point once the Hokies take the floor. How is Robert Brown playing? How about Jarell Eddie or C.J. Barksdale?  If those guys contribute, then perhaps Virginia Tech can work some Greensboro magic.

NC State should have the upper hand in this contest.  With that said, all it would take is a couple of careless turnovers to make things interesting.  Lorenzo Brown and CJ Leslie can both be turnover-prone at times, and a spell of sloppy play can allow the Hokies to make a threatening run.

#7 Maryland vs. #10 Wake Forest
Previous Meetings: February 2 – Maryland 86, Wake Forest 60; March 2 – Maryland 67, Wake Forest 57.

Maryland and Wake Forest will kick off the evening session in Greensboro, as the Demon Deacons will seek revenge from a series sweep at the hands of the Terrapins.

Since the ACC expanded in 2004, there have been 24 ACC Tournament games featuring a team facing an opponent it had swept in two regular season meetings.  Of those 24, 20 picked up a third win against the opponent during the ACC Tournament, so don’t let anyone tell you it’s hard to beat a team three times.

Of course, nothing can be taken for granted with Maryland.  They followed both of their big wins during conference play (NC State, Duke) with disappointing losses (North Carolina, Boston College), so why expect them to beat Wake Forest a third time? Besides, as well as the Demon Deacons played in Winston-Salem this season, so going merely 30 minutes east might not hurt their home court mojo that much.

#6 Florida State vs. #11 Clemson
Previous Meetings: January 5 – Florida State 71, Clemson 66; January 24 – Florida State 60, Clemson 57

Florida State will also face a team they defeated twice in the regular season, tipping off against the Clemson Tigers to wrap up the first night of the ACC Tournament

With two of the slower-paced, more offensively-challenged teams in the league paired against each other in the last game of the evening, you may be tempted to call it an evening early.  However, you might just be rewarded with a Michael Snaer game-winner if you are persistent.  Four times this season, Snaer has given Florida State a last-second lift.

Clemson enters the ACC Tournament reeling, having suffered six straight losses.  While it is unlikely that the Tigers will be able to put together a surprise run and win the whole ordeal, a win against the Seminoles could provide some positive momentum to end a disappointing season for the Tigers.

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