By Jerry Hopkins
Welcome to the wild wacky west … or ACC! This year has been absolutely crazy in the ACC, so without further to do, let’s go!
Team to Watch: No. 17 Virginia Cavaliers
While the Cavaliers may be one of the most boring teams in all of the NCAA, their hot streak running into the end of the tournament makes them the team to watch. While Virginia may not score the ball that well, there defense is stellar, as they are number one in the nation in least amount of points allowed at 52.4 points. Offense wins games, but Virginia defense wins championships.
Player to Watch: Tre Jones, Duke Blue Devils
Since Tre just took home the ACC player and defensive player of the year, this makes him the player to watch in the tournament. As the point guard and leader of the team, if Jones plays well, Duke will play well. Jones is truly the heartbeat of the Duke team. Jones will have to bring his A game for Duke to win the tournament, but they don’t call him Tre “Stones” Jones for nothing.
Sleeper Team: Syracuse Orange
This was a tough pick, since three teams are sitting at 10-10 in conference this year. The reason I pick Syracuse as a sleeper is because they have a pure scorer in Elijah Hughes who is averaging 18.8 points per game, and Syracuse plays the Jim Boeheim 2-3 zone defense, and have a history of playing well in March. Syracuse also plays in the second day of the tournament, which gives them a chance to come into the game against Louisville with momentum.
Tournament Favorite: No. 4 Florida State Seminoles
This is a tough pick being KCOU’s resident Duke stan (behind Grayson Rainey), the Seminoles have been the best team in the ACC and have (kind of) been the most consistent team in the conference. They also have the easiest road to the championship being the number one seed. This and there three guard attack of Devin Vassell, Trent Forrest, and M.J Walker being double-digit scoring, and their team average of 8.8 steals helps the Seminoles become the tournament favorite this year.
Extra Sleeper Team: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Because of NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations, the Yellow Jackets will have the opportunity to sleep in and watch the tournament. For more information, here is another KCOU article about the Yellow Jackets.
The ACC has been a prime example of how much parity there is right now in college basketball, and I am expecting the ACC tournament to be no different. So, as Jon Rothstein says, “If you plan on filling out a bracket for the 2020 NCAA Tournament, be sure to keep a bottle of kerosene nearby.”
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org