Busting Brackets

ACC Basketball: 2024 conference tournament preview and predictions

Mar 9, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Seth Trimble (7) shoots
Mar 9, 2024; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Seth Trimble (7) shoots / Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
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#1 North Carolina vs. #8 Virginia Tech (March 14, 12:00pm)

North Carolina lost some games it shouldn’t a few weeks back, but for the most part have been one of the nation’s best teams this season. They didn’t win the ACC regular season title on accident and did beat these Hokies by 15 points a few weeks ago. Barring a hot shooting night from Virginia Tech it’s going to be North Carolina off to the semifinals.

North Carolina wins

#4 Pittsburgh vs. #5 Wake Forest (March 14, 2:30pm)

Not only is this an intriguing matchup between two bubble teams but it’s a chance for revenge. Pittsburgh has ended their season on a nice spurt, though they were beaten at Wake Forest by 33 points just over three weeks ago. The offense has been playing better on both sides, but defense will play a major role in this matchup. Expect big things from Hinson.

Pittsburgh wins

#2 Duke vs. #7 Syracuse (March 14, 7:00pm)

Duke has dropped some head scratchers this season, though they did beat this Syracuse team by 20 points two months ago. The Blue Devils are looking to bounce back after last weekend’s home loss to North Carolina and their offense shouldn’t struggle against this Orange team. Syracuse’s Tourney hopes rest with a big upset, but we don’t see it happening here.

Duke wins

#3 Virginia vs. #6 Clemson (March 14, 9:30pm)

These teams played a thrilling game in Clemson back in February, with the Cavaliers winning by one point. While this could certainly be another thrilling game, Virginia has so many questions marks for a 3-seed in the ACC Tournament. The offense has been abysmal lately and it’s hard to see them having much success here. The Tigers solidify themselves as the surprise of the quarterfinals.

Clemson wins


#1 North Carolina vs. #4 Pittsburgh (March 15, 7:00pm)

A lot has changed since these two teams played each other back on January 2nd. Pittsburgh has played much better ball in recent weeks, especially on the offensive end, but how will they handle an improved Tar Heels defense? We’re saying there’s the potential here if the Panthers have another hot shooting performance, but most expect North Carolina to prevail.

North Carolina wins

#2 Duke vs. #6 Clemson (March 15, 9:30pm)

These teams actually had an intense battle back in January, with Duke hanging on for a 1-point home win. They survived late thanks to great efforts from Jared McCain and Tyrese Proctor and they’ll need both of them playing smart ball once again. Hall won the matchup with Filipowski last time around; don’t expect the same thing in round two, setting us up for quite the final.

Duke wins


#1 North Carolina vs. #2 Duke (March 16, 8:30pm)

Upsets can and will happen during conference tournament season though it would be quite the surprise to not see Duke and North Carolina meeting in the title game. The bitterest of rivals are having yet another season where they’re the two best squads in the ACC and both look capable of great position in the NCAA Tournament.

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As we know, Duke fell in both of their earlier matchups, but that doesn’t mean the Tar Heels are a sure thing to sweep all three games. North Carolina got ahead early with some hot shooting and the Blue Devils never quite got back into it last weekend. The opposite could easily happen, especially if McCain has another standout performance. Expect the unexpected in the ACC Tournament, as either of these teams have a fantastic case, but it’s really hard to beat a bitter rival three times in one season.

Duke wins the ACC Tournament