The ACC tournament is set to get underway in Greensboro, N.C., but the event doesn't seem to be receiving the same type of attention and hype we've seen in the past.
While the ACC still is a very good conference, the level of play has slipped in recent years. The Big Ten and Big East are clearly better conferences, which has taken some of the excitement away from the ACC tournament.
There is also isn't much at stake in this year's tournament. Duke and Miami are potentially still fighting for No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. North Carolina and NC State are trying to improve their NCAA tournament seed, while Virginia appears to be the only team sitting on the bubble that could either play its way into or out of the Big Dance.
There are few teams that could come out of nowhere to make a run at the ACC tournament title, and no team has ever won four straight games to capture the crown. Maryland and Florida State appear to be the only two teams with the talent to make a run, but the inconsistency of each and the tough road they will face makes it virtually impossible.
While Maryland and Florida State seem likely to win their opening round games, it doesn't get any easier from there. Maryland must face Duke, which is on fire of late, and then would likely have to face the winner of FSU-UNC just to get to the Final, where they might run into Miami. The road is a similar for Florida State, but they do have experience on their side.
With the way Duke is playing, I really like their chances to win the tournament. The Tar Heels could be a thorn in their side in the semifinals, out for revenge after being blown out by Duke just a week ago, but they have to get there first. Miami is the top seed, and although they may have peaked too soon, the Hurricanes did play Duke very tough in Cameron just a couple of weeks ago. NC State has been disappointing this year, but they are flying under the radar and could get hot at any moment.
The Seminoles are another disappointing team, but if they can make some shots, their defense gives them a chance to make a run. The same can be said of Virginia, but they looked like a tired bunch down the stretch. They played over their heads in ACC competition, and it might finally be catching up with them. The only other team with any chance to make noise is Maryland, which has plenty of talent but simply turns the ball over entirely too much to consistently win against the top ACC teams.
Boston College vs. Georgia Tech
NC State vs. Virginia Tech
Maryland vs. Wake Forest
Florida State vs. Clemson
Miami vs. Boston College
Virginia vs. NC State
Duke vs. Maryland
North Carolina vs. Florida State
Miami vs. NC State
Duke vs. Florida State
Miami vs. Duke