By Adam McGill
Game 1: Maryland – (4) North Carolina
Matchup to Watch: G Kendall Marshall, North Carolina vs. G Nick Faust, Maryland – Marshall’s 9.6 assists per game is currently second in the nation and would make any NBA players blush. He is surrounded by one of the most pro-ready offenses in the game, and the only thing that has the ability to contain the sensational Marshall from taking over the game would be Faust. The Maryland guard is a very reliable defender, but will have his hands full against one of the best point guard’s in the nation.
Player to Watch: G Terrell Stoglin, Maryland – Stoglin was the biggest ACC First-Team snub in over a decade, as he is averaging a conference leading 21.2 points per game and still did not get First Team honors. The sophomore may take the majority of the shots for Maryland in the game, but he is by far their best player.
Prediction: North Carolina 81 – Maryland 70
Game 2: Virginia Tech. – (6) Duke
Matchup to Watch: F Dorian Finney-Smith, Virginia Tech. vs. F Miles Plumlee, Duke – Both players have had very different trips to the conference tournament this season. Finney-Smith has been aggressive on the glass all year, despite this being his freshman season. While Plumlee eventually won the starting position over his brother, but has dominated with 55 boards in his last five contests.
Player to Watch: PG Austin Rivers, Duke – Rivers has been absolutely incredible in his first year at Duke. He is the team’s best jump shooter and the kid can help Duke go deep in both tournaments.
Prediction: Duke 81 – Virginia Tech. 67
Game 3: Miami (FL) – (17) Florida State
Matchup to Watch: F Kenny Kadli, Miami vs. F Bernard James, Florida State – This will be the best interior matchup of the day, as both big men are very physical. They will be matched up on every position, so they will better off getting to know each other early.
Player to Watch: G Michael Snaer, Florida State – Snaer is leading the team with 14.1 points per game and is their best shooter from the outside. He drained 5 3-pointers in his last game alone and will be firing shot after shot from downtown.
Prediction: Florida State 64 – Miami (FL) 60
Game 4: North Carolina State – Virginia
Matchup to Watch: F C.J. Leslie, North Carolina vs. F Mike Scott, Virginia – The duo is averaging almost identical numbers; as Leslie is posting 14.3 points with 7.1 rebounds, while Scott is averaging 17.9 points 8.3 rebounds. This will be a back and forth matchup to keep an eye and could certainly decide the winner of the match.
Player to Watch: F Mike Scott, Virginia – Scott is by far the best player in this game. He can score, rebound, and more importantly can post up down low. He will torment all interior defenders in the ACC tourney from here on out.
Prediction: Virginia 62 – North Carolina State 57