ACC 2021 Men's Basketball Tournament schedule

Adrian Holman

Out of all of the major conferences in college basketball, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) continues to establish the standard of starting their conference tournament a day before the rest. The 68th annual New York Life Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament will take place from March 9-13 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC.

Here is a quick look at the schedule. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time (EST). Seeds five through nine receive a bye into the second round, while seeds one through four receive a double bye into the quarterfinals because the ACC regular season matters. All of the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament games will be televised across the ESPN brand of networks.

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First Round -- Tuesday, March 9th

Game 1: #12 Pitt Panthers (10-11) vs #13 Miami (FL) Hurricanes (8-16) -- 2 PM.

Game 2: #10 Duke Blue Devils (11-11) vs #15 Boston College Eagles (4-15) -- 4:30 PM.

Game 3: #11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-14) vs #14 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-15) -- 7 PM.

Second Round -- Wednesday, March 10th

Game 4: #8 Syracuse Orangemen (15-8) vs #9 North Carolina State Wolfpack (13-9) -- 12 PM.

Game 5: #5 Clemson (16-6) vs Winner of Game 1 -- 2:30 PM.

Game 6: #7 Louisville Cardinals (13-6) vs Winner of Game 2 -- 6:30 PM.

Game 7: #6 North Carolina Tar Heels (16-9) vs Winner of Game 3 -- 9 PM.

Quarterfinals -- Thursday, March 11th

Game 8: #1 Virginia Cavaliers (17-6) vs Winner of Game 4 -- 12 PM.

Game 9: #2 Florida State Seminoles (15-5) vs Winner of Game 5 -- 2:30 PM.

Game 10: #3 Virginia Tech Hokies (15-5) vs Winner of Game 6 -- 6:30 PM.

Game 11: #4 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (15-8) vs Winner of Game 7 -- 9 PM.

Semifinals -- Friday, March 12th

Game 12: Winner of Game 8 vs Winner of Game 9 -- 6:30 PM.

Game 13: Winner of Game 10 vs Winner of Game 11 -- 9 PM.

The ACC Championship game will be played on Saturday, March 13th at 8:30 PM on ESPN.

The ACC experienced sort of down year this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. All 15 teams were not able to play a full ACC schedule because of COVID protocols. Nevertheless, there are many teams in this conference that will qualify for the NCAA Tournament even though none of the ACC teams are ranked in the RPI Top 25 at the moment.

Virginia is the defending ACC Tournament champs with the Cavaliers being the one seed again. Virginia normally slows the ball all the way down because that style helped them win the NCAA Tournament two years ago. However, they have played a little bit faster this season while scoring 80 or more points three different times during conference play. The Cavaliers are led by their frontcourt duo of Sam Hauser (15.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Jay Huff (13.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.5 bpg).

Florida State is the #2 seed, but they play totally different than Virginia. The Seminoles look to speed the game up with constant defensive pressure. This type of pressure could help them in a tournament in which teams have to play games back-to-back.

Virginia Tech continued to surprise teams this season with upsets over Villanova and Virginia during the season. The Hokies play with a perimeter-minded approach, but their big-time player resides in the post as Keve Aluma led Virginia Tech in points and in rebounds (15.9 ppg, 8 rpg).

The top three teams are locks to reach the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens in this ACC Tournament. However, the reason why this tournament has so much intrigue is because there are seven teams sitting on the bubble. If one of these teams have a bad loss this week, then they could end up being surprised on Selection Sunday.

Georgia Tech has also been a surprise this season because the Yellow Jackets have won their last six games in a row. Their new-found winning habits began when they finally began to pass the ball inside to Moses Wright (18 ppg, 8.1 rpg) instead of relying on perimeter shots that gave bricklayers plenty of material to rebuild the infrastructure of America this season. Georgia Tech needs to win their quartefinal game in order to punch their ticket into the Big Dance.

Clemson just needs to avoid a loss in the second round because their non-conference wins against Purdue and Alabama should prevent their bubble from bursting. The Tigers are also rolling after winning six of their last seven games. Power forward Aamir Simms leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists (13.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.6 apg). Clemson was inconsistent defensively during the middle of the season, but they have made the proper adjustments during this run in order to remain a contender in this tournament.

North Carolina also needs to avoid a loss in the second round in order to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament after securing a big win over Florida State a couple of weeks ago. The Tar Heels have one of the best frontcourts in the country with Armando Bacot (11.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Garrison Brooks (10.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg), and Day'Ron Sharpe (9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg). If the Tar Heels lose their second round game, then they could possibly miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.

Although Louisville has a decent record at 13-6, the Cardinals have to win two games in order to breathe a sigh of relief on Selection Sunday. The issue is that Louisville has suffered two big losses during the season where they lost both of those games by a margin of over 30 points. Their inconsistency could cost them in this tournament. Cardinals fans are hoping that the good Louisville team shows up this week.

The second round game between Syracuse and North Carolina State is basically an elimination game. Whichever team wins should be given a spot in the NCAA Tournament. NC State always seems to be on the bubble every year, but they always seem to show up at the end of the season. This season has not been any different as the Wolfpack have won their last five games along with an upset over Virginia. Syracuse is around the bubble again because their vaunted 2-3 zone defense has been sort of lackluster this season. However, the Orangemen could salvage their season with a win over NC State because Syracuse won both match-ups earlier this season.

Please check out some of these games because upsets will abound.

Schedule is from TheACC.com. Image is from Pixabay.

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