The 2015 ACC Tournament might be the most intriguing of all the conference tournaments. With 15 teams in the conference, several are looking to sneak their way into the field of 68 with a strong showing, while multiple teams have a chance to all but guarantee themselves a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The quest for the ACC Championship begins on Tuesday afternoon as Boston College takes on Georgia Tech. That contest will be followed by Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech, who finished the regular season with the conference’s worst record at 2-16. The bottom four teams in the ACC would need five victories to clinch an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and they won’t be a part of March Madness with anything less than an ACC title.
Syracuse had the eighth-best record in the ACC, going 9-9 in the conference with an 18-13 overall record. But they won’t be competing in the tournament, undergoing a self-imposed postseason ban of one year. Syracuse disqualified themselves from playing in the postseason before the NCAA suspended head coach Jim Boeheim for nine games next year, and stripped the school of 12 basketball scholarships over four years.
Duke is the favorite to win the conference championship, according to Bovada.lv, even though they finished second in the ACC standings behind Virginia. The Blue Devils rank second in the nation behind unbeaten Kentucky, while the Cavaliers come in at No.3 in the AP Top 25 Poll. Duke has won the ACC Championship 10 times in the last 16 years, though they haven’t done so since 2011. Virginia beat Duke in last year’s title game, giving them their first conference championship in 38 years.
Both Duke and Virginia have a chance to be a top seed in their respective regions in the NCAA Tournament, and a head-to-head matchup in the ACC Championship Game might ensure that the ACC lands two No.1 seeds. Notre Dame is unlikely to get a No.1 seed, but they can get at least a No.2 seed by winning the conference title. The Fighting Irish rank No.11 in the nation with a 26-5 record.
Louisville is the fourth ACC team that ranks in the top 14, going 24-7 in the 2014-2015 season. Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame and Louisville all have byes in the first two rounds of the tournament, needing just three victories to clinch an automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
North Carolina finished fifth in the ACC standings, but they are tied for the third best odds to win the championship. The Tar Heels lost all five games they played against the top four teams in the ACC.
North Carolina 13/2
Notre Dame 13/2
North Carolina State 25/1
Florida State 200/1
Boston College 300/1
Georgia Tech 500/1
Virginia Tech 500/1
Wake Forest 500/1
Date: March 10-March 14
Location: Greensboro Coliseum
TV Channel: ESPN or ESPN2
Online Stream: WatchESPN
Prediction: Duke over Virginia in the ACC Championship Game