The 59th Atlantic Coast Conference Mens’ Basketball Championship begins tomorrow at Noon EST with the Terrapins of Maryland squaring off against the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest in the 8/9 conference matchup. The other games of the day include #5 North Carolina State battling the woeful #12 Boston College Eagles at 2 PM, the #7 Clemson Tigers facing off against a #10 Virginia Tech team that has lost 4 in a row, and #6 Miami trying to complete season sweep over the #11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
The biggest things for fans to look for tomorrow is how North Carolina State responds to adversity and how Miami plays with Reggie Johnson back in the lineup. With four straight losses in February, NC State placed themselves squarely on the bubble and will probably need to beat both Boston College and Virginia to keep their tournament hopes alive. Scott Wood is a ball player and may have that it in him but it will take some help some help from his Wolfpack teammates. Meanwhile, Miami sitting at (18-11) overall and (9-7) in the ACC probably need at least one if not two wins in the conference tournament to solidify a bid into March Madness. For Nole fans this brings an additional layer of excitement as 2011-2012 Coach of the Year Leonard Hamilton is anxious for the rubber match against the team that he coached throughout the 1990’s, and this would be the matchup for 9 PM Friday night should the Hurricanes advance.
To commit a sin that only a fan can, the look ahead to Saturday’s action is already getting me excited. Should things play out according to seedings, UNC and Virginia would be playing the early game at 1PM. With the ACC regular season championship in hand the Tarheels are the favorite to win this tournament, but the last time the Wahoos and ‘Heels matched up it ended with a 54-51 win in Charlottesville back in February. Mike Scott for UVA has improved since then and had a chance to be the ACC Player Year after averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds a game for the Cavaliers, so this is a game that any fan of college hoops should be interested in.
The late game for Saturday if things go according to plan would match up the Duke Blue Devils against the Florida State Seminoles. FSU knocked off Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium back in January with a CLUTCH Michael Snaer three at the buzzer to end the Blue Devils 45 game home winning streak, but Coach K’s boys rebounded and couldn’t miss a three point shot to beat the Noles in Tallahassee on February 23rd. Should this rubber match occur look forward to both teams going all out trying to win and it should make for an extremely exciting ballgame, especially if UNC has already advanced to the title game. Florida State is looking for its first ACC tournament championship ever and this years squad is as good as the Noles have had so this weekend has extra importance for FSU.
For all my friends who have the fortune of being in Atlanta this weekend for the tournament, enjoy it, wish I was there with you. And for everyone else stuck watching it at home along with me, let me know your predictions or who you are rooting for! Should be an exciting weekend showcasing the greatest conference in collegiate basketball and I’m looking forward to it!