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ACC tournament 2020: Bracket, schedule, preview, and scores

Action kicks off Tuesday in Greensboro!

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 ACC tournament has changed dramatically after the conference’s decision to carry on remaining games without fans as a precautionary response to the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA announced today that no fans would be allowed to attend NCAA tournament games, and several conferences — including the ACC, Big Ten, and Big East — followed suit.

Elsewhere, the NBA suspended its season after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. It’s still unclear whether conference tournaments or the NCAA tournament will proceed as expected.

Tournament Preview

The No. 4 ranked Florida State Seminoles enter the tournament as the outright regular-season winner and No. 1 seed. Leonard Hamilton — the ACC Coach of the Year — and his squad have just five losses on the season. Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell, and MJ Walker headline a balanced squad for the Seminoles that will make every aspect of the game difficult for opponents.

The No. 2-seeded Virginia Cavaliers finished in a three-way tie for second with Louisville and Duke, and are entering the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the country, let alone conference. Virginia won its last eight games, and have won 11 of the last 12 games with victories over Florida State, Duke, and Louisville in that span. The Hoos have the nation’s best defense (per KenPom) and one of the worst offenses, but they’re still finding ways to grind out wins. They may be without the trio of De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, and Kyle Guy, but second year guard Kihei Clark has come on late and Mamadi Diakite refuses to be denied.

Duke, the No. 4 seed, is the odds-on favorite to win, but finished the season 2-2 heading into the tournament. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been tinkering with his lineups, reducing playing time for Matthew Hurt, Alex O’Connell, and Joey Baker down the stretch. The Blue Devis rely heavily on ACC Player/Defensive Player of the Year Tre Jones and Rookie of the Year Vernon Carey, Jr., and can struggle if a third scoring option doesn’t emerge.

The No. 3-seeded Louisville Cardinals have been inconsistent this season, looking like a title contender and extremely beatable at different times. Malik Williams made a brief return from injury in the Cards’ regular-season finale (a loss to Virginia), but his performance is going to be huge for Chris Mack and Louisville in the postseason. Louisville will have to face either Syracuse or North Carolina/Virginia Tech, none of which would be a cake walk. Jordan Nwora is the type of player that can take over a game, and Louisville’s supporting cast (Steven Enoch, Dwayne Sutton, and Ryan McMahon to name a few) is capable of beating anyone.

All season, the ACC has been a bit of a free-for-all. The top tier — Florida State, Duke, Louisville, and Virginia — pulled away from the rest of the league, but this season more than any other in recent memory has been hotly contested. Keep an eye on the middle grouping of NC State, Notre Dame, and Syracuse as trio that could make some noise. It’s a shame Georgia Tech is ineligible for postseason play, because the Yellow Jackets were actually ... good? Oh, and North Carolina? Yeah, they may have finished last, but it would be the most 2019-20 basketball thing ever for them to put together a run.

The stakes

Right now, the ACC is only looking at getting four teams into the tournament: Florida State, Duke, Louisville, and Virginia. The Cavaliers worked their way off the bubble with an eight game winning streak to end the regular season, and you should see the reigning champs at or about the seven seed line.

NC State still has some work to do, and the Wolf Pack should also probably be hoping no bid stealers pop onto the scene. NCSU will face the winner of No. 12 Wake Forest and No. 13 Pittsburgh, so if they want to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive, they have to at least win one, and should probably pick up another win over Duke in the Quarterfinals for good measure.

North Carolina has undoubtedly been playing much better, but they’re dead last in the conference this season and will have to win five games in five days to earn the conference’s automatic qualifier for the Big Dance.

The format

The top 10 teams receive first-round byes and the top four teams receive double-byes to the quarterfinals. Teams are seeded by record within the conference, with a tiebreaker system to seed teams with identical conference records. Georgia Tech is ineligible for post season play because of NCAA violations and won’t participate.

The bracket and schedule

Here is the full tournament bracket and day-by-day schedule. Game times subject to change. We’ll be updating it with results along the way.

Round 1: Tuesday, March 10 (all times ET)

Game 1: No. 12 Wake Forest 72, No. 13 Pittsburgh 81

Game 2: No. 11 Virginia Tech 56, No. 14 North Carolina 78

Round 2: Wednesday, March 11

Game 3: No. 8 Clemson 69, No. 9 Miami 64

Game 4: No. 5 NC State 73, No. 13 Pittsburgh 58

Game 5: No. 7 Notre Dame 80, No. 10 Boston College 58

Game 6: No. 6 Syracuse 81, No. 14 North Carolina 53

Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 12

Game 7: No. 1 Florida State vs. Clemson, 12:30 p.m.

Game 8: No. 4 Duke vs. NC State, 2 p.m.

Game 9: No. 2 Virginia vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m.

Game 10: No. 3 Louisville vs. Syracuse, 9 p.m.

Semifinals: Friday, March 13

Game 11: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner, 7 p.m.

Game 12: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner, 9 p.m.

Championship: Saturday, March 14

Game 13: Game 11 Winner vs. Game 12 Winner, 8:30 p.m.