By Griffin Hill
The ACC tournament starts today and there are several teams on the bubble looking to boost their portfolio. The season may fall onto the pressure of one game for some teams, but one thing is for sure… The ACC tournament is always exciting to watch.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame came into the season with extremely high expectations, and failed to live up to the hype. They understandably blame their troubles on the injury of star big man Bonzie Colson. Colson was projected to compete for 1st team All American honors and boost his stock for next years’ NBA Draft.
At 18-13, I believe the Fighting Irish need to win 2 games of the ACC tournament to secure a date to the big dance. They have a quite favorable first round match-up against a terrible Pittsburgh team, and with a win advance to play Virginia Tech. The Hokies are hot and already a locked tournament team, but if ND can upset them in the second round, reaching 20 overall wins, they should be in as well.
Sryacuse has history on their side when it comes to the selection process. I say this because they can clearly play with anyone even on a “down-year,” and they proved this two seasons ago when they reached the Final 4 as a 10 seed.
This year has been up and down for the men in orange, starting off hot, but struggling through their ACC schedule. However, Syracuse has shown signs that they can contend with anyone, but they are not in the NCAA tournament just yet. If they are able to beat a shaky Wake Forest team tomorrow in a game they should win, then they would advance to the second round of the tournament to play the Tar Heels. This game against UNC will be an all or nothing game for the Orange, and they will be playing with a win or go home mindset. The tournament taking place at Barclay’s Center plays to their advantage, but it will take an upset against a talented North Carolina squad to get off the bubble.
Louisville claimed the 9th seed in the ACC, and rightfully so. The Cardinals struggled on the big stage, but capitalized on games they were favored in. A middle of the pack team looking for a spark. A spark this week.
The Cardinals are in an interesting position as far as the bubble goes. They absolutely need to beat Florida State in the first round, and advance to play Virginia. Obviously Virginia is a tough matchup for anyone, and they dismantled the Cardinals earlier this season. However, I don’t think they NEED to win this game, but playing them close should get them in. Honestly, the fate of Louisville’s placement into the NCAA tournament depends on the finish of other teams. The first year of the “Rick Pitino-less” squad has been interesting to watch, and hopefully for Cardinal fans the fun will continue.