Previewing the ACC Tournament

Frank Burlison offers his opinions on the coming ACC Tournament. Who did the National expert pick to win it all? Which teams need to win to make the NCAAs? Who's in? Who's out?

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
At Washington, D.C. (MCI Center)

Regular-season champion: North Carolina (14-2).

Thursday schedule: Maryland vs. Clemson;
North Carolina State vs. Florida State;
Miami vs. Virginia.

Friday quarterfinals:
North Carolina vs. Maryland/Clemson winner;
Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech;
Wake Forest vs. NCSU/FSU winner;
Duke vs. Miami/Virginia winner.

Best non-championship matchup: Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech. Hokies won in Atlanta on Jan. 22. What are at-large hopes for loser in rematch? Slim.

Keep this in mind: UNC can face only one (2-3 seeds Wake Forest and Duke) of the teams that beat the Tar Heels in the regular season.

Player to check out: John Gilchrist. The point guard was the tourney MVP while leading Maryland to the title a year ago. He'll need that kind of effort to get his team to at least the semifinals (translated: wins over Clemson and UNC).

Projected tournament winner: Duke over North Carolina. This one figures to match the first two meetings in terms of thrills and chills.

At-large Land: UNC, Wake Forest and, if it gets to tourney final and the chips fall the right away in other tourneys, Duke are in the hunt for top seeds. Georgia Tech (needing just one win, max) is in the best shape among the bubble-types, followed by NCSU, Maryland and Virginia Tech, which could use a couple of W's to feel secure on Sunday.

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