State Of The U ACC Tournament Preview

USA TODAY Sports

SOTU gives you the all particulars, breaks down Miami's chances, predicts the entire tourney, and more.

Last year at this time The Miami Hurricanes Hoops Team was on their way to Greensboro as a #1 seed, on the verge of making history.

This season Virginia has taken the mantle, and they hope to duplicate the elusive task of winning both the regular season and tournament crowns.

But a plethora of challengers stand in the Hoos' way.

The Duke Blue Devils finished the conference season at 13-5, and boast arguably to two most talented individual players in the conference in Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker.

North Carolina, led by the best PG in the conference not named Tyler Ennis (Marcus Paige), comes in having won 12 of 13.

Speaking of Ennis, how soon we forget his Syracuse Orange started out the year 24-0. With a legendary coach in Jim Boeheim, and that zone defense which is so hard to prepare for on short notice, they also remain a palpable threat.

So who are the favorites? And how far can UM advance?

Let's break it all down.

The Favorites:

Virginia - When you have two All-Conference quality players like Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris, it always makes you a favorite. What I especially like about this team is that they always bring their lunch pail, and are very unselfish with the ball. Look out for Justin Anderson, who is an X factor off the bench, and freshman PG London Parrantes, who loves knocking down big shots.

Duke - They still have trouble defending dribble drives, and they lack a true post presence on offense. But they are still the most talented team in the ACC. Hood and Parker, rightfully get the most credit. But Quinn Cook has had a very solid year at the point, and Andre Dawkins is a cold blooded shooter from deep.

UNC - Once they found out P.J. Hairston wasn't coming back and their roles were defined, they took off in a big way. Paige has been spectacular all year, and James Michael McAdoo, J.P. Tokoto, and especially Brice Johnson have really improved their games. The real question with them is will they make enough outside shots and FTs to survive and advance.

Syracuse - They come into the tourney reeling, losing 4 of their last 6. But they did finish the season with a resounding win over FSU. C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant are do it all forwards that can carry this team. And Ennis loves makes the big play down the stretch. Can Trevor Cooney regain his shooting touch in time for the Cuse to win an ACC Championship in their inaugural season?

The Sleepers:

Pittsburgh - Lamar Patterson is good enough to make them a threat. They need Talib Zanna to play angry, and to get back to playing the kind of team defense that Jamie Dixon coached squads are known for.

NC State - Two words, T.J. Warren! Dude can ball. Will his teammates give him any help?

Miami - I know you what you are thinking: Homer pick all the way. Consider this though, The Canes won 4 of 6 down the stretch, and so many of their early losses were very close. Rion Brown is playing like a star, Erik Swoope has been a revelation, and young players like Tonye Jekiri and Manu Lecomte are playing their best ball of the season.

The Predictions:

Round 1 (Wednesday):

#13 Notre Dame over #12 Wake. Pat Connaughton and Eric Atkins outgun Codi Miller-McIntyre and Travis McKie, who finishes his Demon Deacon career with 0 postseason wins.

#10 Miami over #15 Virginia Tech. VT isn't good enough to beat anyone, three times in one season.

#14 Boston College over #11 Georgia Tech. Twilight Zone music plays as Olivier Hanlan lights up the Yellow Jackets for the second straight year in the opening round of the ACC tourney.

Round 2 (Thursday):

#9 FSU over #8 Maryland. The Noles aren't quite ready for their NCAA bubble to burst. Ian Miller and Aaron Thomas carry them to victory as the Terps continue to struggle taking care of the ball.

#5 Pittsburgh over #13 Notre Dame. The Irish love shooting threes, and this keeps them in the game until their legs get tired in the second half. Zanna finishes them off inside.

#10 Miami over # 7 NC State. 2 weeks back Miami blew open a close contest in Raleigh, by closing the game on a 22-5 run. Warren gets his, but so do Garrius Adams, Brown, and Davon Reed.

#6 Clemson over #14 Boston College. K.J. McDaniels and the Tigers stingy D find a way to slow down Hanlan.

Quarterfinals (Friday):

#1 Virginia over #9 FSU. The Hoos have the Seminoles' number, and will pull off the hat trick with their third win of the season Vs FSU. UVA's depth is just too much for Leonard Hamilton's squad.

#4 UNC over #5 Pittsburgh. Paige is playing with so much confidence right now. James Robinson is tough as nails but MP gets the best of him.

#2 Syracuse over #10 Miami. The 'Canes magic ride comes to an end at the hands of Ennis and Grant. Look out for Miami next year when they will be absolutely stacked.

#3 Duke over #6 Clemson. There's always an upset right? Not when Parker adds a nasty inside presence to his sublime perimeter skill set.

Semifinals (Saturday):

#1 Virginia over #4 UNC. Weird things happen in Greensboro in games involving the Heels. But not on this day. Harris and Akil Mitchell won't have it.

#3 Duke over #2 Syracuse. Cue up Dickie V and the ESPN hype machine for this one. It'll be close again, Jimmy B won't get ejected, and the team with the better outside shooting (Duke) will win.

Finals (Sunday):

#1 Virginia over Duke. Tony Bennett's team ride the all around play of Malcolm Brogdon, and their lock down Pack D to the title.

All Tournament Team: Brogdon (UVA), Parrantes (UVA), Parker (Duke), Cook (Duke), Ennis (Syracuse), Grant (Syracuse), Paige (UNC).

Tournament MVP: Malcom Brogdon (UVA)

Last but not least, what they are playing for:

SCHEDULE:

61st Annual ACC Tournament

March 12-16, 2014

Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum

Wednesday, March 12 (First Round)

#12 Wake Forest vs. #13 Notre Dame ESPN2/ACCN 1:00

#10 Miami vs. #15 Virginia Tech ESPN2/ACCN 3:30

#11 Georgia Tech vs. #14 Boston College ESPN2/ACCN 7:00

Thursday, March 13 (Second Round)
#8 Maryland vs. #9 Florida State ESPN/ACCN noon
#5 Pittsburgh vs. #12 vs. #13 winner ESPN/ACCN 2:00
#7 NC State vs. #10 vs. #15 winner ESPN/ACCN 7:00
#6 Clemson vs. #11 vs. #14 winner ESPN/ACCN 9:00
Friday, March 14 (Quarterfinals)
#1 Virginia vs. tba ESPN or ESPN2/ACCN noon
#4 North Carolina vs. tba ESPN or ESPN2/ACCN 2:00
#2 Syracuse vs. tba ESPN or ESPN2/ACCN 7:00
#3 Duke vs. tba ESPN or ESPN2/ACCN 9:00
Saturday, March 15 (Semifinals)
Game #12 ESPN/ACCN 1:00
Game #13 ESPN/ACCN 3:00
Sunday, March 16 (Finals)
Game #14 ESPN/ACCN 1:00

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