Georgia Tech vs. Boston College, 1:00 p.m. ET
Yellow Jackets: 12-18, 3-15 ACC, 13 seed
Eagles: 12-18, 4-14 ACC, 12 seed
For the third straight year, Georgia Tech and Boston College meet in the opening round of the tournament. With the Eagles’ 20-point win in 2013, and the Yellow Jackets’ overtime win a year ago, this is a rubber match of sorts.
Boston College beat Georgia Tech, 64-62, on January 25, which was their only ACC win in their first 15 contests, before a three-game winning streak to end the regular season.
Out of Georgia Tech’s 15 ACC losses, 12 were by seven points or less, with three in overtime. However, the Jackets come into the tournament on a low note, after an 81-49 home loss to North Carolina, but have had an entire week off.
The best player on the floor will be Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan, who leads the conference in scoring at 19.4 points per game, and has scored 28 or more in five of the Eagles’ last ten games, including a 39-point performance in a close loss to Pittsburgh.
Expect Georgia Tech to keep it close, as they always seem to do, but expect Hanlan, the first-team all-conference selection, to be the difference. The winner will play North Carolina at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Boston College 67, Georgia Tech 63.
Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest, appr. 3:30 p.m. ET
Hokies: 10-21, 2-16 ACC, 14 seed
Demon Deacons: 13-18, 5-13 ACC, 11 seed
Both teams come into the ACC Tournament playing poorly in recent games, although one of them will have to end their drought this afternoon. The two teams only previous tournament meeting was won by the Hokies in 2007, but Wake won the prior meeting this season, 73-70, on January 31 in Winston-Salem.
Both teams were winless on the road in ACC play, but that number may figure Wake in this case, as the Greensboro Coliseum is only about 30 miles from campus, giving them a moderate crowd advantage.
Wake has lost three out of four games this year when playing opponents for the second time, and by an average of 31 points, and after a 3-1 stretch in early February has lost five out of six, although four were to top ten opponents.
The Hokies have lost seven straight, and after hard-fought games against top five opponents Duke and Virginia, played very poorly in home losses to Boston College and Miami to close the regular season.
Both coaches are in their first ACC Tournament, although Tech’s Buzz Williams has been through the Big East Tournament experience (back when that was arguably the best conference), and Wake’s Danny Manning won the C-USA Tournament title last year at Tulsa. Both teams are heavy with freshman, giving them their first tournament experience as well, although Wake is led by two very experienced juniors, Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas.
Expect Miller-McIntyre to be a key in determining the outcome, as he has scored 22.0 points per game in the last two games, despite the Deacs’ struggles as a team. The winner will play Miami at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Wake Forest 79, Virginia Tech 73.