The ACC Tournament tips off this week and unlike most seasons, there’s no clear-cut favorite to cut down the nets on Sunday in Greensboro, N.C. Several top-tier programs are hoping to improve their seeding ahead of this weekend’s NCAA Tournament selection reveal and there’s a blueblood, Duke, badly needing an impressive week-long run to improve its March Madness chances altogether.
Per CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson, this year’s ACC Tournament does not have a a team ranked in the AP top 10 for the first time since 1996 and only the fifth time ever. Patterson and the CBS Sports crew revealed their tournament champion picks on Monday with three experts picking Florida State — Gary Parrish, Matt Norlander and Jerry Palm — along with Kyle Boone going with Virginia.
Patterson’s dark horse pick to win the ACC Tournament is Georgia Tech.
The ACC Tournament will open with three first-round matchups on Tuesday, followed by four second-round matchups on Wednesday, four quarterfinal matchups on Thursday, and two semifinals on Friday before concluding on Saturday with the championship game. Each of the league’s 15 teams will participate in the ACC Tournament. The top nine seeds in the conference will receive a first-round bye, while the top four seeds will bypass the first two rounds.
Duke is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament without several wins in Greensboro.
“The ACC Tournament – that’s the one that got it all started,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after his team’s weekend loss to North Carolina. “To do well in it, to win it – we’ve won it a number of times. It’s been an honor to do it there. I think in order to win, you can’t look at the tournament as a whole. You just have to play your next opponent and that’s it, and then win and then try to win again.
“If you try to look at the whole thing, it can become daunting. Someone’s going to say, ‘That’s never been done, you can’t do that, you’re going to be tired.’ Even if you win, you’re going to hear a whole bunch of that. I hope we do, because that means that we’re winning. I think in order to have that said about us, we should just take it one at a time and see how well we can play against Boston College.”
The ACC Tournament champion will secure an automatic bid into the 68-team field for the 2021 NCAA Tournament, which includes 31 automatic qualifiers and 37 at-large bids. The full NCAA Tournament field will be finalized on Sunday, March 14, and the bracket will be revealed during the March Madness Selection Show at 6 p.m. ET on CBS.
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247Sports’ Chance Linton contributed to this story.