The 2020 ACC men’s basketball tournament tips off Tuesday afternoon at Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina! Florida State earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the first time since joining the ACC by impressively winning the league’s regular-season with a 16-4 record in conference play. The Virginia Cavaliers earned the No. 2 seed, with head coach Tony Bennett proving that his team can play solid defensively down the stretch (Virginia has quietly won 11 of their last 12 ACC conference games). Louisville fell to the No. 3 seed, while an inconsistent Duke squad took the No. 4 seed.
In what has been seen as a down year for the ACC, there are still four really strong teams in the conference that show positive March Madness upside. Duke beat out Florida State in the 2019 ACC Championship, and the popular play seems to be penciling in one of these two teams again in 2020. The problem with this theory, however, is that it seems like Florida State and Duke are destined to match up in the Semifinal round on Friday, March 13th (FSU is #1 and Duke is #4).
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves here… Tuesday’s games include a #12 Wake Forest / #13 Pittsburgh matchup and a #11 Virginia Tech / #14 North Carolina matchup to close out the night (yes, North Carolina is the lowest seed in the ACC). I don’t expect any of these four teams to make any noise past Wednesday, but North Carolina playing in front of a home crowd makes for an interesting story. The winners of those two games will play in the first round on Wednesday, with winners advancing to the Quarterfinals Thursday. We’ll start to see some real action come Friday, as the heavy-hitters will face off in the semis (likely Florida State / Duke at the top of the bracket, Virginia / Louisville at the bottom). The Championship will tip on Saturday, March 14th at 8:30 pm EST.
And now…the moment of truth.
My sleeper ACC Tournament Champion is the Virginia Cavaliers. They are quietly the hottest team in the conference (and quite frankly the country), winning 11 of their last 12 conference games. If you’re of the mindset that the winner of this tournament will likely come from one of the four teams, I’m rolling with the team that is not only the hottest but also has the easiest path to the final round. Florida State and Duke will knock one of the contenders out in the semifinal round, and I believe that Virginia’s momentum will carry them past a solid Louisville team into the finals. Take the solid value here in a conference that is wildly up for grabs.
Pick: Virginia +600
Tournament Odds (ACC Official Bracket)
Florida State +175
North Carolina +1000
NC State +3300
Notre Dame +3300
Virginia Tech +10000
Boston College +15000
Wake Forest +15000