The brackets are set! Let’s check in on each ACC team’s bracket, and how far I expect them to go.
Virginia Tech – EAST #9 Seed
The Hokies open the tournament with a tricky game against a decent Wisconsin team. The Badgers went 4-6 in their last 10 games, but won 25 games. I think the Hokies guards are too much for Wisconsin though. After that Virginia Tech would play #1 EAST Seed Villanova. The Hokies aren’t quite ready to take down a team like that in March.
Projected Finish – Round of 32.
Virginia – EAST #5 Seed
Virginia has UNC-Wilmington in the 1st round. The Seahawks are well-coached by Kevin Keatts, and could pose the Hoos some problems. Virginia should win though. In the next round, Virginia would play either ETSU or Florida. They are better than ETSU and Florida lost 3 of it’s last 4 games. The Gators beat only 1 really good this year – that was at home against Kentucky. Virginia can win this game with a decent effort from London Perrantes. I think Virginia advances to play Villanova. The Hoos nearly beat Villanova earlier in the year, so I expect a competitive game, but not a win.
Projected Finish – Sweet 16.
Duke – EAST #2 Seed
Mid-season Duke can lose in the 2nd round. ACC Tournament Duke can win it all. Duke should cruise into the Sweet 16 with wins over Troy and the winner of South Carolina/Marquette. In the Sweet 16 it could be #3 seed Baylor. The Bears played their best basketball weeks ago. I think Duke has a fairly easy draw to the Elite 8 where they would likely face Villanova. I don’t have the guts to pick Duke over Nova.
Projected Finish – Elite 8.
Notre Dame – WEST # 5 Seed
I expect Notre Dame to advance to the round of 32 over Princeton. A 4/5 game with West Virginia might be the best 4/5 game of the tournament. West Virgina’s press will be tough to deal with, but I think Notre Dame has enough ball handlers to advance and face Gonzaga. Notre Dame can certainly beat Gonzaga, but I’m not ready to call it.
Projected Finish – Sweet 16
Florida State – WEST #3 Seed
Florida State is good enough to reach the Final 4, but inconsistent enough to lose to FGCU in round 1. Playing in Orlando, will help the Noles have a home game feel. I like them to get to the Sweet 16. They could face Maryland in the round of 32, in an old time ACC matchup. Heading to California to play likely Arizona probably is too much for FSU.
Projected Finish – Sweet 16
Miami – MIDWEST #9 Seed
What a great coaching matchup between Jim Larranaga and Tom Izzo of Michigan State. This isn’t a vintage Michigan State, but Izzo is awfully good in March. Tough call, but I think Miami is more talented overall. Kansas in the next round, is probably where Miami’s run ends.
Projected Finish – Round of 32
Louisville – MIDWEST #2 Seed
Let me just say the Cardinals got a great draw through to the Elite 8. Red hot Michigan might be trouble in the round of 32, but 3 seed Oregon lost one of their top players recently to injury. Louisville has no reason to not reach the Elite 8. I don’t like playing Kansas in Kansas City though. That’s why I’m leaning Kansas there.
Projected Finish – Elite 8
North Carolina – SOUTH #1 Seed
UNC should be very pleased with their bracket until at least the Elite 8. Butler is the #4 seed, and has 2 wins over Villanova, but if the Heels are playing their game they should be fine. Texas Southern or the Arkansas \ Seton Hall winner should pose no problem. In the Elite 8 is where it really gets tough as UNC will probably play Kentucky who UNC already lost to or UCLA that beat Kentucky. The Tar Heels have one of the highest ceilings of any team in the tournament. The Elite 8 game will be tough, but if UNC is on they can reach the Final 4. I think UNC can win the national title, but their tendency to get a little lax on defense gives me hesitation to pick them to win it all.
Projected Finish – National Title Game
Wake Forest – SOUTH #11 Seed
Wake Forest is in the play-in game. I think the Deacs are good enough to get past Kansas State, but Cincinnati is a tough matchup. I think the Bearcats win.
Projected Finish – Round of 64