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Breaking down the ACC tournament bracket

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 04 Pitt at Miami Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good afternoon, folks.

The Miami Hurricanes are your (co-)ACC regular season champions after edging Pitt 78-76 on Saturday at the Watsco Center. My heart damned near stopped when Blake Hinson - who was unconscious-level on fire at that point - launched a 40 footer as time was expiring that was inches from going in. It shouldn’t have been a cardiac moment either, given the officials’ inexplicable stupidity of not going back and changing Pitt’s prior three-point FG to a two.

But the shot clanged off the rim, my chest unclenched, and Miami fans streamed onto the floor. And now, the Cardiac Canes 2.0 head to Greensboro as the top seed in the ACC tournament.

Here’s the bracket...

So Miami will face the winner of Syracuse-Wake Forest at noon on Thursday. Those two teams just faced off yesterday, with Syracuse winning 72-63. The Cuse snapped a 4-game losing streak with the win. The Orange have five streaks of 3+ wins and/or losses this season, so it’s really a question of what wave they’re riding when they play you. If they come to Greensboro hot, they could make some noise. Wake enters the tournament having lost 4 of their last 5 and 8 of their last 12.

If Miami prevails, they’re likely set to face the winner of Pitt/Duke in the semis. I didn’t realize that Clemson would shoot up to a 3 with the results of yesterday and had in my mind Miami would be facing them. Clemson couldn’t scare me any less, while a resurgent Duke has hit a stride and is a much tougher team to face right now than what we saw in Coral Gables a few weeks ago. Their size in the frontcourt could give Miami problems. Pitt has also shown it is at least as good as Miami when they face off. As such, either Pitt or Duke is a very challenging matchup in a Friday tilt.

On the other side of the bracket, I can’t really see Virginia losing to Clemson, although anything is possible. UNC will be a desperate team, but they haven’t really proven to be a capable one despite the experience, which is baffling. If they can get past (presumably) Boston College, a tilt with Virginia awaits, except this time not in the confines of the Dean Dome. If I had to pick some sleepers on this side of the bracket, I’d say Virginia Tech could make some noise, as well as NC State if they can get past the Hokies (also presumably) and then exact revenge on Clemson. I’ll pick Virginia to come out of this side, but it’s far from certain, as this has been a seemingly more vulnerable UVA team this season.

Can Miami repeat its success from a decade ago, when they won the regular season and tournament titles? We’ll find out starting Thursday.

Go Canes!