CBB Review prepares you for every conference tournament leading up to Selection Sunday. Up next: The ACC Tournament.
The ACC had quite the down year, but some pleasant surprises made up for other disappointments. Pittsburgh was probably the league’s most surprising team, but could not hold on against Miami (Fla), and it was the Hurricanes who emerged as the league’s regular season co-champs. Virginia shares the title with Miami.
It was also the first season that the new chapter of the Duke-UNC rivalry appeared, as Jon Scheyer’s Blue Devils took down Hubert Davis’ Tar Heels twice this season.
The main storyline for this tournament is the number of bubble teams the ACC has. Aside from Miami, Duke, and Virginia, no team’s bid is truly safe. True contenders will appear, while others are left in the dust. No matter the talent or production in the regular season, the ACC Tournament never fails to disappoint.
2023 ACC Awards
Player of the Year: Terquavion Smith, NC State
Freshman of the Year: Judah Mintz, Syracuse
Transfer of the Year: Tyree Appleby, Wake Forest
Coach of the Year: Jeff Capel, Pittsburgh
- G: Tyree Appleby, Wake Forest (18.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG)
- G: Isaiah Wong, Miami (Fla) (15.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 38.1 3P%)
- G: Caleb Love, North Carolina (16.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.0 SPG)
- G: Terquavion Smith, NC State (17.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG)
- F: Armando Bacot, North Carolina (16.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.1 BPG, 55.2 FG%)
- G: Jarkel Joiner, NC State (17.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.3 SPG)
- G: Judah Mintz, Syracuse (16.2 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.9 SPG)
- F: Grant Basile, Virginia Tech (16.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 BPG, 39.7 3P%)
- F: Blake Hinson, Pittsburgh (16.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.2 APG)
- F: Hunter Tyson, Clemson (15.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 41.3 3P%)
ACC Tournament Simulation
First Round – Tuesday, Mar. 7
12. Florida State (9-22, 7-13) vs. 13. Georgia Tech (14-17, 6-14) – 2 p.m. on ACCN
Florida State started off its season pretty slow, joining Louisville at the bottom of the league for the majority of non-conference play. However, the Seminoles have been a dangerous team, as they play good defense and are very streaky shooting. On the other side, Georgia Tech, aside from a couple of solid wins, has not impressed this season, and even on an off day, Florida State should move on here.
Sam’s Pick: 12. Florida State
10. Boston College (15-16, 9-11) vs. 15. Louisville (4-27, 2-18) – 4:30 p.m. on ACCN
Boston College has a few quality wins to its name, including beating Virginia by double-digits a couple of weeks ago. Louisville has been a disaster, winning just four games and being embarrassed in most other contests. This game should not be close.
Sam’s Pick: 10. Boston College
11. Virginia Tech (18-13, 8-12) vs. 14. Notre Dame (11-20, 3-17) – 7 p.m. on ACCN
Virginia Tech started off its season red-hot, cracking the top 25 and looking like a serious league contender. Alas, the Hokies could not keep up the quality play, quickly slipping to the bottom of the league. Notre Dame is coming off of a huge home win, which was Mike Brey’s last game in South Bend. The Irish will be fighting to give coach Brey even more of a final sendoff, but Virginia Tech is playing for a bit more, trying to squeak out an at-large bid, however unlikely.
Sam’s Pick: 11. Virginia Tech
Second Round – Wednesday, Mar. 8
8. Syracuse (17-14, 10-10) vs. 9. Wake Forest (18-13, 10-10) – Noon on ESPN
It took a while for Syracuse to get a win over a tournament team, and even though they eventually did so, their resume is still incredibly thin. Wake Forest is led by Tyree Appleby, who could possibly be named the league’s Player of the Year. The teams’ only matchup came just a few days ago, when Syracuse beat Wake Forest at home. However, on a neutral floor and postseason atmosphere, this game will end otherwise.
Sam’s Pick: 9. Wake Forest
5. Pittsburgh (14-6, 21-10) vs. 12. Florida State – 2:30 p.m. on ESPN
The Panthers ended their magical season with two losses that completely pushed them away from the double-bye and into Wednesday. A win over Miami would have given Pitt the one seed, and here they sit in the second round. Pittsburgh should still make it to the quarterfinals, though, and they owe the Seminoles a game after FSU beat them in Oakland.
Sam’s Pick: 5. Pittsburgh
7. North Carolina (19-12, 11-9) vs. 10. Boston College – 7 p.m. on ESPN2/ESPNU
North Carolina lost a heartbreaker to Duke in its season finale, making the Tar Heels 0-2 on the year against their rival. Caleb Love and RJ Davis are the X-Factors for the Heels, and the two have great postseason track records and poise. Boston College will not be making a deep run this season.
Sam’s Pick: 7. North Carolina
6. NC State (22-9, 12-8) vs. 11. Virginia Tech – 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2/ ESPNU
NC State has been very up and down, but its offensive firepower is undeniable. Terquavion Smith is my pick for the league’s Player of the Year, and Casey Morsell has also been a nice emergence for the Wolfpack. As long as NC State shoots the ball adequately, they should breeze past the Hokies.
Sam’s Pick: 6. NC State
Quarterfinals – Thursday, Mar. 9
1. Miami (Fla) (24-6, 15-5) vs. 9. Wake Forest – Noon on ESPN/ESPN2
Miami has clearly been the league’s most consistent team, and they solidified that on Saturday, beating Pittsburgh and clinching a share of the ACC Regular Season Title as well as the top overall seed in the league’s tournament. Isaiah Wong has been nothing short of fantastic, but the story for the Hurricanes is how well they flow defensively. Tyree Appleby should have a nice game, but it will not be enough to take down the ACC’s premier squad.
Sam’s Pick: 1. Miami
4. Duke (23-8, 14-6) vs. 5. Pittsburgh – 2:30 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2
Duke currently sits on the 7-9 range for the Big Dance, while Pitt is closer to the bubble than those in Oakland would like to think. The Blue Devils have been playing their best basketball as of late, and their roster might be the most talented one in the conference. I would not want my favorite team to play Duke right when they’re starting to click.
Sam’s Pick: 4. Duke
2. Virginia (23-6, 15-5) vs. 7. North Carolina – 7 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2
Virginia and UNC split the season series, each taking a game at home from the other. The difference for UNC in the win versus the loss was their three-point shooting: they shot exceptionally well in the win and very poorly in the loss. Although UNC has the experience and looked to have Virginia’s number in the last contest, UVA’s fresh legs from the double-bye give them a slight advantage.
Sam’s Pick: 2. Virginia
3. Clemson (22-9, 14-6) vs. 6. NC State – 9:30 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2
Clemson was at one point the best team in the conference, but they quickly returned to form, losing a few tough games, including one to Louisville. Nonetheless, Clemson finished strong and has the three seed, but is tasked with facing off with a scary NC State team. If the Wolfpack shoot the way they can, Clemson might be packing their bags early in the ACC Tournament.
Sam’s Pick: 6. NC State
Semifinals – Friday, Mar. 10
1. Miami vs. 4. Duke – 7 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2
This game has the possibility to be the best game of the tournament, as the league’s best team faces off with the league’s most talented team. Duke beat the Hurricanes by two at home and then was throttled in Coral Gables the next month. Duke has a little more to play for, and they have clearly gotten better as the year goes on. The Blue Devils pick up a huge resume booster in this one.
Sam’s Pick: 4. Duke
2. Virginia vs. 6. NC State – 9:30 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN2
These teams played once this season, where Virginia stifled NC State’s offensive juggernaut. Tony Bennett’s packline should be enough to give the Wolfpack fits yet again, and as long as Armaan Franklin and Kihei Clark shoot well, history should repeat itself.
Sam’s Pick: 2. Virginia
Championship – Saturday, Mar. 11
4. Duke vs. 2. Virginia – 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
In the only matchup between these teams, Virginia escaped after a foul on the ‘Hoos was waved off and sent the game to overtime. Virginia has been streaky this year, and their shooting percentages have been a rollercoaster. Duke looked very sharp defensively against Virginia, which makes it seem like Virginia would struggle again against the Blue Devils. Duke feels like they owe Virginia one, and Jon Scheyer needs to make a statement in his first year versus the league’s top coach.
Sam’s Pick: 4. Duke