TEAM TO BEAT: Virginia. The Cavaliers won the regular season title for the 2nd straight season and are defending ACC tournament champs. They lost two games all season long: a magical comeback by Duke and a close regular season finale at Louisville.
TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE TOURNAMENT: Duke. I say this nearly every year because Duke and Coach K value this tournament more than anyone. They are playing well right now and did beat UVa in their only meeting. My only concern is that the Blue Devils have little depth and that could hurt them at winning three games in three days.
TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Louisville. The Cards have had a good history at winning conference tournaments and this is their first ACC affair. They'll most likely get UNC first and then probably a Virginia team that just beat. Their style of play is tough to prepare for with little preparation.
YOUR CINDERELLA: Wake Forest. The Deacs aren't as bad as their record indicates as they have played many tight games. With no one scared of them, they could bite a big name team.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Duke, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest. This marks the last of the old ACC where most of the tournaments are held in either Greensboro or Charlotte. Next year they move up to Brooklyn and the tournament moves around quite a bit. So that advantage of the Big Four (who made up half the conference for nearly the first 40 years of the league will be gone. Better take advantage.
MUST WATCH GAME: NC State vs Pittsburgh. State has shown they can beat the best ... but they've shown they can lose to anyone. Pitt needs to make a run to get into the tournament and popping State would be a great first step.
MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) QUARTERFINAL GAME: Louisville vs North Carolina. The first time these two met in the season, Marcus Paige topped off a huge UNC comeback with a game winning layup. The second time they played, Louisville came back from 18 points down to send the game into overtime where they spanked the Heels. A third game would be welcome.