See that up there? That's the ACC bracket. And there are some things you need to know about it. I'm not going to school you on the ins and outs of each team - you probably already know them. But there were a few things I did find interesting after a quick hour surfing the internet.
Georgia Tech is giving up. Rumors are flying that Paul Hewitt is done at GT. Fans are displeased with him. They lost at home to Virginia Tech in what was very nearly a must-win game. North Carolina doesn't have much more going for them, but at least Roy Williams isn't about to be fired. If they can get past UNC, which is a big if at this point, Maryland will be a big game, but do they really care?
UNC has a better attitude...at least publicly. Of course there's been a lot of turmoil in that locker room, but fans aren't as down on the team and Roy Williams is at least saying the right things. Here's hoping it can lead to an upset (for one round).
Don't sleep on Clemson. They have an awful history, but I like them.They're the third best team in the ACC by KenPom, and have quietly won seven of their last nine games, with Maryland and a road game at Wake Forest being the only losses. Clemson/FSU should be a great game, but Clemson has already beaten them twice. They're clicking right now, are healthy, and few teams have an answer to Trevor Booker. They're my sleeper team, should they beat Maryland, which is fully possible - the two teams split the season series.
Vegas odds favor Duke. Unsurprisingly, odds are 4/5 for Duke. Maryland is at 5/2 right now.
Duke got a walkthrough. Sometimes, the seeding breaks just don't go your way. Their opponents should be worse than Maryland's simply due to seeding, but by how much? Maryland's potential first matchup - Georgia Tech - has essentially the same KenPom rank as the best team on Duke's side of the bracket (29 against VT's 28). The bottom half of the bracket also houses #17 and #18 in KenPom, while the #3 team on Duke's side is Wake Forest, #41 in KenPom. Had Clemson beaten Wake Forest, FSU (#18) would've swapped with Wake Forest (#41), evening things out substantially. Of course, every team Duke lost to in the ACC is on the other side of the bracket, too. Thems the breaks.
LRMC says Duke over Maryland. One of the more unique, accurate rating systems, Joel Sokol's predictions are relatively unsurprising - each higher-seeded team wins, except for my darkhorse Clemson squad, which actually beats FSU in the second round. Maryland then prevails and meets Duke in the finals, only to fall. Sad. Of course, stats aren't supposed to predict upsets.
History isn't on Maryland's side. The last time Maryland went into the ACC tournament with a 7 game winning streak? Lost in the first round to Miami. The last time Maryland was #2 in the tournament and Duke was #1? 2000, when the Dukies won in the championship game. Maryland, however, did meet up with them in the finals, losing by 13.
PoY: Go big or go home. It's been split right down the middle the past decade: half of the ACC Player of the Year's teams won the ACCT. The other half didn't make it to the finals. I suppose that's rather fitting given Greivis Vasquez's on-and-off personality.
Happy memories. Maryland's last ACC tournament championship came in the Greensboro Coliseum. It'll be played there again for the first time since 2006, so it's a good chance to relive some memories of John Gilchrist. Y'know, before he went crazy and all that.