ACC Tournament, Worthless Predictions


One thing I hate to do on this site is make predictions. Yet that has never stopped me from doing them. God bless America.So here I am again, ready to give you my thoughts on some upcoming game/tournament.

Of course I could sit here and tell you all about each team in detail, explain to you why so-and-so will suddenly get hot, why that guy will lose his jumper, how that coach will screw that up and guarantee you some mind blowing upset…but I’m not.


I’m an old-school gambler and one thing us old-timers love is history. So I’m going to look in the past to tell you the future. And yes, I’m going to deliver the same line I do every time I do this…these “predictions” should be completely ignored.

So What do we know about the ACC Tournament?

We know that Duke and North Carolina have won it a lot (17 times each), but that doesn’t really help us. They’re two original league members, of course they’re going to have a stack of conference titles.

Hell, if you just based it on team’s history, then you would have to argue that South Carolina, who won the ACC crown back in 1971, has a better shot than Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech.Of course this would be difficult since the Cocks play in the SEC (traitors!).

While I can certainly judge teams by their recent performances, the fact is, I believe in seeding and the history seeding results can tell us. And when I say history, I mean recent history. Sorry, I don’t care about who won want in 1962. They didn’t even let blacks in the league then. Nothing counts.

I am going to look back at the tournament dating back to 1985. This was the year the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, thus losing in the tournament no longer meant the end of the season (excluding the N.I.T.).


– It’s good to be No 1. The top seed has made it to the finals in 16 of the last 25 tournaments, although, they’ve only won half of those games. Recently, the No 1 seed has won three-straight (2006-2008).

– Being the No 2 use to mean something. Over an 18-year period, the No 2 seed made it to the finals half of the time. Of those nine, the No 2 seed won seven championships.

– Lately though, the No 2 seed has been a curse. Since 2003, no No 2 seed has advanced to the ACC finals. The two seed is only 3-7 in the tournament since 2003, losing in the quarterfinals four times.

– Of course, the No 2 seed is not the norm, as the higher seeds tend to dominate in the finals. In fact, the high seed in the championship game has won seven out of the last eight (No 6 Maryland over No 1 Duke in 2004 was the lone upset).

– In the past though, upsets in the finals were more common. In fact, the high seed (prior to 2002) was just 9-8 in the champion game.

– Of course, all because the No 2 seed has been getting into the finals, that doesn’t mean that any of the little guy’s are stepping up to shock the league. In fact, the title game has featured No 4 seeds or higher in all title games, except seven. That’s 50 teams and only seven have been a five seed or lower.

– The most common title game match up has been a #3 seed vs. a #1 seed (seven times, compared to six #2 vs. #1).

– Of course, No 3 seeds may get to the title game, but that doesn’t mean they do much once they get there. In fact, the No 3 has lost in five of the last six title games they appeared in.

– One last note on title games. Of the 25 winners since 1985, 22 were three seeds or higher. The three times it didn’t happen? Each time the winning team was a No 6 seed (Maryland in 2004, Georgia Tech in 1993 and N.C. State in 1987). That basically means if you’re a 4/5 seed or seeds #7-12, you’re not winning this baby.

– Now I’ve spent a lot of time on the top seeds, but what about the bottom feeders? Since 2005, the ACC has had 12 seeds (technically in 2005 there were 11, followed by 12 in 2006) and they’re not terrible. In fact, Seeds #9-12 are 13-19 in the tournament overall since 2005.

– In round one, the bottom seeds are actually better. Seeds #9-12 are 10-9 since 2005 in the first round. The No 12 seed is an impressive 3-1 in round one.

– Of course after round one, the lower seeds usually fall by the waist side. They’re 10-9 in round one, but only 3-10 after that. Only three have advanced past the quarterfinals.

Okay, I’ve hit on the top seeds and I’ve walked you through the lower seeds, but I’ve focused mostly on the title game and the first-round games. Everyone knows all the action in a Oreo is in the middle, so what happens in the middle rounds?

– First, if you’re the top seed, you can punch your ticket to the semis. Over the last 25 years, only two No 1 seeds have lost in the quartefinals. The last time it happened was in 1997, when Duke lost to N.C. State. Prior to that, it was N.C. State losing to Maryland in 1989.

– Like I said before, the No 12 seed and No 11 seeds have found some round one success, but joy joy, that’s about it for bragging rights. These two are just 1-5 in the semis, with Wake Forest (in 2006) being the only #12 seed to advance to the semis.

– In fact, the quarterfinals have been pretty damn uneventful over the years. Since 1998, three of the top four seeds have advanced to the semis 10 times in 12 years (twice all four top seeds made it), but never has only just one made it. What I’m saying is, if you’re a betting man, take the top seed in all games and you’ll win three of four…most likely.

– Heading into the semifinals, there’s only one important stat to know. It’s splitsville, baby. In the ACC semis, one higher seed and one lower seed has won the past eight years. The last time both higher seeds advanced to the finals was in 2001 (#2 Duke & #1 North Carolina). For the record, the higher seed winner and lower seed winner has split the past eight seasons. The highest of the seeds has gone 4-4, the lowest seed in the semis has gone 4-4.

Okay, I’ve talked all about seeds, but what about teams. There’s got to be some helpful info, right?

– First, what about Duke as the top seed? At one point, it use to be a bad thing. In fact, prior to 1998, Duke had earned the top seed five times (since 1985), but only managed to win the conference tournament once. Now though, things have changed. Duke has won the title as the top seed four times in five tries since 1998.

– Maryland has the No 2 spot, but there isn’t too much history to look at. They’re not typically this high. What I can tell you is this, when the expectations are high, the Terps fall down. Since 2001, Maryland is a decent 5-2 as the lower seed (winning the ACC title in 2004), but when they are the higher seed, they are just 3-6.

– Florida State has never been a No 3 seed. They were a No 4 seed last season and advanced to the title game. Overall, they have won their first tournament game the last three years. Prior to that, they had lost three straight.

– Virginia Tech took a couple years getting use to the ACC, but for three straight seasons, they have won the first and lost their second. The last two seasons, they won as the higher seed, but lost as the lower seed. Overall, they are 3-1 as the higher seed.

– Poor Wake Forest, the ACC tournament has been unkind when they’re a good team. Since 2004, the Demon Deacons are 0-4 as the higher seed.

– Clemson has lost six of their last seven in the first round, including their last three. The one year they didn’t have to play in the opening round, they actually won two games and made it to the finals.This year, they’re playing in round one.

– Georgia Tech is hard to predict. They’re 6-9 since 2001. They’ve won in round one the past two season and have a habit of losing to Duke. The Blue Devils have eliminated Ga Tech three times over the last six years.

– Since joining the ACC, Boston College has never lost in their first game in the ACC Tournament. They’re 4-0. The past two seasons, they were the lower seed in the first round.

– For Virginia, I have an interesting stat. Since 1995, the Cavaliers are 3-4 in the ACC Tournament with Sean Singletary on the team, winning at least one game in three of his four seasons. Without him though, Virginia is 0-13.

– What about North Carolina? There’s not a lot to go on. They’ve been a top seed so often, it hurts. Well how’s this, between 2002-2004, Carolina was the lower seed and they only went 1-3.

– North Carolina State has been known to be sneaky. They’ve reached the finals three times in the last eight years. Only Duke and North Carolina have more appearances in that time. Over the last nine years, they’ve won their first game six times. What I’m saying is, beware of the Wolfpack.

– The Miami Hurricanes are a surprising 3-1 in opening games in the ACC tournament. Yes, I’m actually surprised by this stat. I can barely remember the last time I actually watched a Miami win.

So knowing all those numbers, what have I learned and what will I predict? Let’s get started.


We learned that the lower seed has a 50/50 shot, so they’ll probably win two of these four games. We also learned that the No 12 seed knows how to win in round one. We know Boston College has a 4-game round one winning streak going, while Wake has a four-game slide as favorites. Miami has pulled off some upsets, State’s been known to go on a run, but Clemson hasn’t and Carolina never will. I’m still trying to figure out Ga Tech, but Virginia I know…sorry, no Singletary.

The Cavaliers have dropped nine-straight, while BC has pulled out three wins in their last five, one of which was against Virginia.

The Canes struggle to stop the three. Luckily for them, Wake Forest couldn’t hit a three if you spotted them two.

I know, the Yellow Jackets have struggled lately, losing six of eight. Yet, they’ve still beaten Carolina twice this season. Besides, the Tar Heels gave up on this season a long time ago.

Don’t look now, but State has won three of four. Of course Clemson has more to play for, which usually means disaster for the Tigers. Sorry, no No 6 seed shocker this season.


We know the lower seeds like to crash the party, but they almost never make it to the V.I.P. room. While teams like Boston College and Miami know how to escape the first round, two games in a row is asking too much. Of course both NC State and Georgia Tech could make a splash, but since the Wolfpack are the 11th seed, we know this is as far as they go because the 11th seed never goes to the semis. The fact is, The big boys are in town and three of four will win those quarterfinals. This leaves one team to lose and only one has a known track record of screwing things up when the expectations are high.

The Blue Devils have had a six-day rest heading into the noon game against Boston College. Sorry, Eagles.

Do you think Delaney is a little tired of hearing about Scheyer and Vasquez? It’s a Hokie with a chip on his shoulder, watch out!

The Terps have had a full week of everyone telling them how great they are. They got the ACC player of the year and the coach of the year. Tech has spent the whole week being told how bad they are, about how they underachieved, all while their coach plays the silent treatment. This one should be Maryland, right? Wrong. Something just doesn’t smell right here.

The Seminoles know how to move along (they were in the ACC finals last year), while the Wolfpack are just grateful to be playing one more game.


The semis are a bit harder to figure out. What we do know is, one higher seed is advancing, the other one isn’t. But which one? In this case, go with the team with a loooong track record.

With Maryland gone, Duke should cruise to the championship, but reality says, this will be their toughest remaining challenge. One day, the Hokies will reach the finals, but it won’t be against the No 4 team in the nation fighting for a No 1 seed in the NCAA.

The Noles are the higher seed and have beaten the Yellow Jackets twice this season, but we’re going to roll the dice here and go with the theory of, unless you’re a superior team, it’s tough to beat a decent team three times in one season.


We’ve already pointed it out, the lower seeds just don’t win these. The higher seed has won five straight and the number one seed has won three of four in this tournament.

By this point, Ga Tech has saved their season and are no longer sitting on the bubble. They’re in and this isn’t Atlanta. Duke rolls.