Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
12 Pittsburgh def. 13 Miami
10 Duke def. 15 Boston College
11 Notre Dame def. 14 Wake Forest
8 Syracuse def. 9 North Carolina State
5 Clemson def. 12 Pittsburgh
7 Louisville def. 10 Duke
6 North Carolina def. 11 Notre Dame
1 Virginia def. 8 Syracuse
4 Georgia Tech def. 5 Clemson
2 Florida State def. 7 Louisville
6 North Carolina def. 3 Virginia Tech
1 Virginia def. 4 Georgia Tech
2 Florida State def. 6 North Carolina
2 Florida State def. 1 Virginia
Technically, the Seminoles are the reigning ACC champions after they were declared such due to COVID in 2020. In reality, Florida State hasn’t won an ACC tournament since 2012 but did achieve a 75% win rate for the third time in as many years. They started the year in the Top 25 and only dropped out for a brief spell but went 3-0 against NC State, North Carolina, and Louisville to rise up again in the ranks. Since the start of the calendar year, the Seminoles are 10-3 with some of their best showings. As one of the 30 highest scoring offenses in Division I, it comes as no surprise that they led the ACC in field goal percentage and three-point percentage during conference play. Before losing to Notre Dame in their regular season finale, Florida State had a marginal shot at a 1 seed for March Madness. Even though that is out of reach, and ACC title is very possible.
When December started, the Yellow Jackets were 0-2 with losses to Georgia State and Mercer. If a power conference team could get eliminated within two weeks of starting, Georgia Tech felt like they were it. Now, Georgia Tech is on a six-game winning streak and a total of four wins over ranked opponents this season. Even their first two losses are to low conference teams playing in championship games. The Yellow Jackets are a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Led by seniors Moses Wright and Jose Alvarado, Georgia Tech’s sights can be on an ACC tournament championship. During conference play, Wright was top five in points, rebounds, and blocks per game as well as field goal percentage. Alvarado is coming off being named third team All-Conference in 2020. A 2-3 record against higher seeded teams in this events means Georgia Tech can pull something off. If no one can extinguish the flames the Jackets are riding, this could be a team to watch in the Big Dance.
Matchup to Watch
Georgia Tech vs Clemson
To combat Georgia Tech’s hotness, a team will have to have a tough defense. Clemson allows the second fewest points per game in conference play and was the last team to beat the Yellow Jackets. Though the series was split, the Tigers won the rematch 74-72 by effectively shutting Jose Alvarado down while far outshooting Georgia Tech from beyond the arc. Clemson doesn’t look like a team that will go too far in the ACC Tournament but they six of their last seven, all against unranked opponents. Both teams should feel pretty good about their at-large chances, but this may be the last quality win opportunity for either team with the winner drawing Virginia.
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