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Conference Tournament Predictions 2017: ACC

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville
Atlantic Coast Conference
It has been a wild and wacky 2016-2017 in the ACC, with plenty of upsets and nobody able to really take control of the conference. The usual contenders, such as Duke and North Carolina, have both been very good, while Virginia, Louisville and even Florida State have been in the mix for the conference crown. UNC came out as the top seed at the end of the day, and will be motivated to win the conference tournament, which could keep them in the mix for a No. 1 seed. However, they will be far from the only team that needs a big conference tourney to impress the Selection Committee as Selection Sunday comes closer. Miami, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Clemson all need to impress in order to lock down their spot in the Field of 68.

First Round
12 Clemson Tigers 67
13 NC State Wolfpack 65
Even though he knows he won't be back next season, NC State head coach Mark Gottfried hopes that he can lead the Wolfpack past an inconsistent, but tough Clemson squad. NC State's Dennis Smith Jr. is a superstar, but even he won't be able to overcome the Tigers' array of weapons.

10 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 72
15 Boston College Eagles 60
A big win this past week over Louisville helped keep Wake Forest in the mix for an NCAA Tournament bid, but they need to continue playing well to lock down a spot. Big man John Collins should overpower BC's weak frontcourt, although the Eagles' backcourt is perhaps one of the most underrated in the conference.

11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 68
14 Pittsburgh Panthers 59
Both of these teams have new head coaches, and both have had very different debut seasons. At Pittsburgh, former Vandy head man Kevin Stallings has watched his team struggle, particularly offensively. Meanwhile, Josh Pastner has perhaps been the ACC Coach of the Year, leading the Jackets back from a bottom-feeder to a possible NCAA Tournament team. GT should be able to keep up that level of play in this one.

Second Round
8 Syracuse Orange 70
9 Miami Hurricanes 64
The Orange were really struggling midway through the season, but they have turned it on significantly over the past couple weeks. Guards Andrew White and John Gillon should run the offense to perfection, while center Tyler Lydon should feast on a weak 'Canes interior D.

5 Duke Blue Devils 75
12 Clemson Tigers 66
Much like Syracuse, Duke is trending up at about the right time, and their talent is much more impressive than Clemson. Expect the Tigers to play hard, but a flaming hot Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen should seal the deal for the Blue Devils.

7 Virginia Tech Hokies 70
10 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 77
Buzz Williams has quickly improved the situation in Blacksburg, and the Hokies appear primed for an NCAA Tournament bid. However, Wake is extremely talented down low and should be able to take down the Hokies in the paint.

6 Virginia Cavaliers 65
11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 53
The Yellow Jackets are not a bad offensive team, but even great offensive teams can struggle against Virginia's "packline" defense. Unless a poor shooting can become hot from downtown, Virginia should roll to a victory.

1 North Carolina Tar Heels 81
8 Syracuse Orange 74
I expect a high-scoring, fun shooting game in a rematch of last year's Final Four. Syracuse's 2-3 is as stout as ever, but the wildly improved Justin Jackson and Joel Berry should be able to guide the Tar Heels to a win.

4 Louisville Cardinals 76
5 Duke Blue Devils 72
The Blue Devils are playing very well, and are much deeper than they were last year. Even so, I like the Cardinals to come out in a thriller, particularly if dangerous wing Donovan Mitchell can take advantage of smaller defenders.

2 Florida State Seminoles 68
10 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 61
A dangerous trio of Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes should be enough to give the Seminoles a victory over Wake, and leave the Demon Deacons very nervous on Selection Sunday.

3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 69
6 Virginia Cavaliers 72
The Irish are inconsistent, sometimes looking like a legit Sweet 16 team but other times struggling to beat even some of the weaker ACC teams. ND does have an explosive offense, but I'm betting the Cavaliers and their defense can prevail once more, particularly if the big men can succeed in mismatches down low.

1 North Carolina Tar Heels 75
4 Louisville Cardinals 78
UNC is extremely balanced and experienced, but I like the Cardinals to upset them here. Rick Pitino's teams always love to pressure the ball and that could be enough to dictate the tempo of the game and snatch up a big win.

2 Florida State Seminoles 67
6 Virginia Cavaliers 72
After a superb start to conference play, Florida State has been trending in the wrong direction for awhile. Their hot and electric offense will be give them a great chance, but Virginia has enough to shut them down.

ACC Championship
4 Louisville Cardinals 76
6 Virginia Cavaliers 75
I think this is going to be a great ACC Championship, really symbolizing the excitement and energy of the league all year long. Since Louisville is so great in transition, they should be able to have success against UVA's defense, and perhaps win in the clutch.

ACC Champion: Louisville Cardinals 

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