1. Florida State
Florida State has a great opportunity to secure a no. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament with getting to the ACC Tournament final. The perimeter of Florida State will be the key to their run with Devin Vassell, MJ Walker and Trent Forest leading the way. Furthermore, the depth of Florida State will make it a challenge for teams to prepare for them quickly. Also, the x-factor for this team is Patrick Williams with his supreme athleticism to defend at a high level and his ability to attack the basket. Lastly, Florida State can use the ACC Tournament as momentum to finally make a Final Four run under Leonard Hamilton.
Another team with an opportunity to secure a no. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and to do so they might need to win the ACC Tournament. Furthermore, the most important aspect for Louisville is getting their star Jordan Nwora to be consistent. They also need the front line to be athletic and provide difficult matchups for opponents with Steven Enoch, Malik Williams and Dwayne Sutton. In addition, the x-factor for Louisville is David Johnson. When he is operating at the point guard and is playing well, Louisville is at another level where they can win the National Championship. Chris Mack has a major opportunity with this Louisville team can they start their run with an ACC Tournament Title.
Tony Bennett has his team playing as good as anyone in the ACC heading into the conference tournament. Furthermore, the main reason behind that is the point guard play of Kihei Clark with his ability to pressure the basketball and distribute the ball on offense. The two big men are also playing very well together in Mamadi Diakite and Jay Huff. Next, the defense and tempo for Virginia will keep them in any game and give them a great opportunity to win the ACC Tournament. The x-factor for Virginia will be Tomas Woldentensae and if he can make shots for Virginia they take another step up. If Virginia was to win the ACC Tournament they could propel all the way to a no. 3 seed.
This is an opportunity for Duke to re-emerge as a factor on the national picture if they can win this tournament after a disappointing end of their regular season. In addition, the dynamic duo of Vernon Carey Jr. and Tre Jone is as good as it gets in the country. Now, they must get an additional third contributor on the team and Cassius Stanley is the one who can produce the most for Duke. Duke also needs to get back to their defensive capabilities and getting our transition will be vital for Duke to make a run in the ACC Tournament. The x-factor for Duke is Matthew Hurt, as he can provide key shooting and score from the perimeter they need more offense and he has the potential to deliver. Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have a major opportunity with the ACC Tournament this week.
5. NC State
Now, for NC State the ACC Tournament is crucial to their NCAA tournament chances. Therefore, they must come away with a win against Pittsburgh or Wake Forest than a win against Duke. This very well could get them in the tournament if they can accomplish that this week. To do so, they will need Markell Johnson to play at an elite level with his dynamic scoring ability. They will also need major production from D.J. Funderburk and Devon Daniels. In addition, the x-factor for NC State will be Braxton Beverly with his potential scoring off the bench. NC State must have a massive offensive week to make the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse had an up and down season throughout and the inconsistency will cause them to miss the NCAA unless they win the ACC Tournament. Further, if they are going to make a run in this tournament they must have lights out shooting by Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim. They also need consistent play from Elijah Hughes their best overall player. The Syracuse defense must perform better as well in this tournament. Also, the x-factor for Syracuse will be Quincy Guerrier who can provide rebounding and inside scoring off the bench. Syracuse has a tall task to make a run in the ACC Tournament.
7. Notre Dame
There is an outside chance for Notre Dame to make a run in the ACC Tournament. To start, the production of John Mooney will be heavily dependent on his ability to get double-doubles consistently. Also, TJ Gibbs will be very important, as he gives scoring to the Notre Dame perimeter that has been inconsistent. The defense of Notre Dame will be key for them to make a run in the ACC Tournament. Now, the x-factor for Notre Dame will be Dane Goodwin who can give major production with his shooting and rebounding ability. Mike Brey will have to work magic to get this team in contention to win this tournament.
Brad Brownell could be looking at his time coming to an end at Clemson and needs to show something in the ACC Tournament. If they are going to do something, it is going to come down to the play of Aamir Simms, who has versatility offensively and is a very difficult matchup for teams. Also, Tevin Mack and John Newman on the perimeter will need to give consistent scoring for Clemson. A potential x-factor for Clemson could be Curran Scott off the bench who can provide a spark. Clemson might have to beat Miami on Wednesday to save Brownell’s job.
Jim Larranaga will need to have a great plan to navigate through the ACC tournament with Chris Lykes being out indefinitely. Therefore, Cameron McGusty will need to carry the scoring load for Miami. Along with getting great shooting with Dejan Vasiljevic and Sam Waardenburg with their ability to stretch defenses. Also, Isaiah Wong has emerged as a key factor for Miami and will need to play very well against Clemson to get them a huge win. The x-factor for Miami will be Kieth Stone who will need to provide key play inside against Aamir Simms in the opening game. Miami will need great shooting to advance in the ACC Tournament.
10. Boston College
Jim Christian has not been able to get over the hump and lead Boston College to the NCAA tournament and could be looking at the end at Boston College. If they will beat Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament they will need great interior defense against John Mooney. Therefore, Shelton Mitchell will need to play very well on both ends against Notre Dame. Also, Derryck Thornton will need to play well establishing their offense with scoring and distribution. In addition, the x-factor for Boston College will be CJ Felder with his defensive versatility against Notre Dame. Boston College will need a solid performance to advance past Notre Dame.
11. Virginia Tech
Year one under Mike Young has gone better than expected and Virginia Tech can win a game or two in the ACC Tournament. To start, they will need to get the best out of Landers Nolley who has the capability to score at a very high level. The x-factor for Virginia Tech will be Hunter Cattoor who can give scoring off the bench for Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech will need to have consistency on offense to advance in the ACC Tournament.
12. Wake Forest
Danny Manning is likely going to keep his job for another season, however, they have an opportunity to do some good things in the ACC Tournament. Furthermore, if they will do damage in the ACC Tournament it will because of the play of Brandon Childress who is capable of having big scoring games, as well as Olivier Scarr being a dominant force inside. Chaundee Brown providing good secondary scoring and perimeter defense on the Pittsburgh backcourt will be key. The x-factor for Wake Forest will be Andrien White who can provide the scoring potential for Wake Forest. Danny Manning has an opportunity to add to his case to continue as head coach of Wake Forest.
Jeff Capel is trying to build some momentum for his Pittsburgh team going in the 20-21 season. Therefore, the opportunity against Wake Forest is big for Jeff Capel’s team. To start, Xavier Johnson and Trey McCowens need to continue to develop into a very good perimeter for Pittsburgh. They will also need to develop Au’Diese Tudey.
14. North Carolina
This is the most intriguing team to watch in the ACC Tournament with potential for a run. Furthermore, they have a very good point guard in Cole Anthony who can lead the way and carry them throughout the game. They also need to get great production from Garrison Brooks inside. In addition, the secondary scoring of Brandon Robinson and Armando Bacot will be crucial to their chances to make a run. If North Carolina gets it going consistently on the offensive end they will make a run in the ACC Tournament. After a season of all going wrong for North Carolina, just maybe they’ll have one run left in them.
Team to Watch- North Carolina
Player to Watch- Devin Vassell
Prediction- Florida State over Virginia
Images Courtesy of, ACCSports.com, CBS Sports, Notre Dame Insider, Wake Forest Athletics
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