Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
The Florida State Seminoles and Virginia Cavaliers were going to be the top two seeds in the ACC tournament before Saturday, but their order unexpectedly shifted on the final day of the regular season.
Florida State suffered an upset loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, which dropped it to the No. 2 seed after Virginia knocked off the Louisville Cardinals. Both teams still need to win three games in Greensboro, North Carolina, to capture the tournament crown, but their paths are different than expected.
Virginia should have the easier path to Saturday’s title game. Florida State appears to have the tougher draw, with the Virginia Tech Hokies, North Carolina Tar Heels and Louisville inserted on the bottom half of the 15-team bracket.
ACC Tournament Schedule
First Round: Tuesday, March 9 (2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m.)
Second Round: Wednesday, March 10 (Noon, 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.)
Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 11 (Noon, 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.)
Semifinals: Friday, March 12 (6:30 p.m., 9 p.m.)
Championship: Saturday, March 13 (8:30 p.m.)
All Times ET.
Games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ACC Network.
Virginia Cruises to ACC Tournament Final
Saturday’s results appear to have given Virginia an easier path to the ACC tournament final.
Virginia defeated the Syracuse Orange, NC State Wolfpack, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Clemson Tigers in the regular season. The only defeat the Cavaliers suffered to that collection of teams came at the end of a three-game losing streak that ended February.
Georgia Tech and Syracuse will be fighting for their respective berths in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi listed the Yellow Jackets on the “last four byes” line, with Louisville and Syracuse in the “next four out” group.
Before Georgia Tech’s six-game winning streak, it failed to string together two wins for a month-and-a-half of league play, while Syracuse alternated wins and losses for most of January and February.
Virginia’s defensive prowess could limit the offensive opportunities of any foe in Greensboro. In five of its past six wins, Virginia held its opponent under 60 points. Tony Bennett’s team may struggle with Florida State in a potential final since the Seminoles beat them by 21 points February 15, but it should at least land a spot in the title tilt because of its recent form.
Duke Crashes Out Early
Duke’s miserable season could end before the top four seeds hit the court inside the Greensboro Coliseum.
Mike Krzyzewski’s team looked awful in its regular-season finale against North Carolina, which dealt a significant blow to its men’s NCAA tournament hopes.
As recently as the end of February, the Blue Devils appeared to be in decent shape through a four-game winning streak, but they stumbled against Georgia Tech, Louisville and UNC thereafter.
Duke should advance out of the opening round since the Boston College Eagles are the worst team in the conference. However, its play during its ongoing losing streak suggests Duke will not play strong in a potential 7 vs. 10 game against Louisville.
The Cardinals recently beat the Blue Devils in overtime, and they could be fighting for a spot in the field of 68 depending on what occurs in the next few days.
On Saturday, the Blue Devils shot 18.5 percent from the field and were beaten on the boards and the foul line by UNC. The same struggles hurt them against the Cardinals, when they shot 19 percent from deep and lost the rebound battle by eight.
If Duke continues to lose the key battles across the hardwood, it will experience a rare early exit in the ACC tournament and miss out on the Big Dance.