2006 ACC Tournament Preview

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The 2006 ACC Tournament tips off on Thursday, and here’s your quick reference
guide to the tournament and all 12 teams. Here, you can find information about
the brackets, TV coverage, and Greensboro Coliseum seating. Then we examine the
teams and let you know who the top players for each team are,
take a look at their seasons, run down their best wins and worst losses, and give
you their tournament outlook. All you need to know to get ready for the tourney
is right here.

Tournament Overview

The ACC Tournament is in Greensboro this year, at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Tournament play starts at noon Thursday. The top four seeds in the league get a
Thursday bye, while seeds 5-12 play four games on Thursday. There are four more
games on Friday (starting at noon), the semifinals are on Saturday at 1:30 and
4:00, and the tournament championship game is Sunday at 1:00.

For the official ACC Tournament home page, listing the matchups and
containing links to gametrackers, webcasts, and more information than you can
shake a basketball at, click
here
.

Coliseum Seating

Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College, as part of their ACC entry
agreement, got a reduced-size allotment of tickets (next year VT and Miami will
get a full share, BC in 2007), but Hokie fans can’t complain about seating this
year. Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest got the sweetest
seats this year.

  • For a Greensboro Coliseum seating chart, click
    here
    .
  • For a seating chart showing where fans of various schools are sitting, click
    here
    .

The Teams

Here’s the lowdown on all 12 teams, in order of seeding, from #1 to #12.


#1 Duke (27-3 overall, 14-2 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: J.J. Redick, 27.8 ppg; Shelden Williams, 18.8 ppg; Josh
    McRoberts, 8.1 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Shelden Williams, 10.4 rpg; Josh McRoberts, 4.7 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Greg Paulus, 157 assists; Sean Dockery, 84 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: After starting 14-0 in ACC play and losing just one game
to Georgetown out-of-conference, talk of Duke putting together an undefeated ACC
season really began to heat up. However, the Blue Devils lost their last two
games of the season, at Florida State and at home against North Carolina. They
still head into the ACC Tournament as the favorites, but major questions have been
raised about this team.

Best ACC Win: Duke won at Boston College 83-81 back on February 1. BC was
ranked #15 at the time, and this was their biggest game since joining the ACC.
The Blue Devils had to withstand a furious Eagle rally in the second half to
hold on for the win. They also won at North Carolina, but that was before the
Tar Heels began to gel as a team.

Worst ACC Loss: Neither of Duke’s ACC losses can really be classified
as bad. They lost on the road to Florida State 79-74, but that was a road loss to a
good ACC team. Their 83-76 home loss on Senior Day to rival UNC was disappointing, so
that has to be considered their worst loss of the season.

ACC Tournament Outlook: Duke has a great chance to win the ACC
Tournament. They are very experienced, with four seniors on their roster
(Williams, Redick, Dockery, and Lee Melchionni). They
have one of the best inside players in the conference in Shelden Williams, and
if J.J. Redick can break out of his slump, they should make it to the ACC
Tournament Finals at the very least.


#2 North Carolina (21-6 overall, 12-4 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Tyler Hansbrough, 19 ppg; Reyshawn Terry, 14.2 ppg; David
    Noel, 12.7 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Tyler Hansbrough, 7.6 rpg; David Noel, 6.8 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Bobby Frasor, 125 assists; David Noel, 93 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: It was supposed to be a tough season for the defending
National Champions, who lost their top seven scorers from last year’s team.
Instead, Roy Williams has turned in the most impressive coaching job of his
career, and the Tar Heels are peaking at the right time. They have won seven
games in a row and 10 of their last 11.

Best ACC Win: Without a doubt, their best ACC win came this past Saturday
night at Duke. The Tar Heels took control of the game in the second half, and
ruined the Senior Night celebration of J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Sean
Dockery and Lee Melchionni with an 83-76 victory.

Worst ACC Loss: Way back on January 14, UNC lost 81-70 at home to Miami.
The Tar Heels should not have lost that game, and would not lose it if the game
were played again today.

ACC Tournament Outlook: North Carolina is hot coming into the tournament,
and they certainly are carrying a lot of momentum. But how will this young group
of players handle the pressure of the ACC Tournament, and possibly playing on
three consecutive days? No one knows for sure.


#3 Boston College (24-6 overall, 11-5 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Craig Smith, 17 ppg; Jared Dudley, 16.3 ppg; Sean
    Marshall, 11.6 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Craig Smith, 8.5 rpg; Jared Dudley, 6.9 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Louis Hinnant, 129 assists; Jared Dudley, 98 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: Boston College lost their first three ACC games of the
season, but they turned their season around and won 11 of their last 13 in
conference play. They have won three straight games and eight of their last
nine.

Best ACC Win: Boston College beat North Carolina 81-74 in the Dean Dome
back on January 25. They have also beaten NC State on the road, but it doesn’t
get much bigger than knocking off the defending champs on their home court.

Worst ACC Loss: The Eagles played great basketball down the stretch,
except for their game at Virginia. The Hoos, who struggled at the end of the
season in every game except this one, routed BC 72-58.

ACC Tournament Outlook: Boston College is more than capable of winning
the ACC Tournament. They have already beaten UNC this season, and they narrowly
lost to Duke. They are a very experienced postseason team, albeit not in the
ACC. They will likely have to get past North Carolina to make it to the ACC
Tournament Finals.


#4 NC State (21-8 overall, 10-6 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Cameron Bennerman, 13.5 ppg; Cedric Simmons, 12.1 ppg;
    Engin Atsur, 11.7 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Cedric Simmons, 6.6 rpg; Gavin Grant, 4.9 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Engin Atsur, 104 assists; Tony Bethel, 75 assits; Ilian
    Evtimov, 75 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: NC State had a good year, but their bad finish tarnished
them and will hurt their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, unless they make a good
run in Greensboro. The Wolfpack lost their last three games of the season,
including a 24-point loss to UNC and a 13-point loss to last-place Wake Forest.

Best ACC Win: On January 10, NC State traveled to Chestnut Hill and
crushed Boston College 78-60. The lopsided final score was very surprising.
However, BC returned the favor later in the season, winning 74-72 in double
overtime.

Worst ACC Loss: NC State’s worst ACC loss was this past weekend, a
76-63 whipping at the hands of Wake Forest.

ACC Tournament Outlook: NC State is a team that relies on three-point
shooting. That can be good or bad. If they get on a hot streak they can beat
anyone, but if they are cold they can get run off the court. In their loss to
Wake Forest last weekend, they were just 4-of-29 from three-point range. NC
State is a team that can win the tournament, or be eliminated in their first
game.


#5 Florida State (19-8 overall, 9-7 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Al Thornton, 16.8 ppg; Alexander Johnson, 12.9 ppg; Jason
    Rich, 9.9 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Alexander Johnson, 7.5 rpg; Al Thornton, 6.9 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Todd Galloway, 88 assists; Isaiah Swann, 80 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: Florida State had a very good season, and it was a little
unexpected. The Seminoles knocked off Duke in the last week of the regular
season, and nearly beat the Blue Devils in Durham earlier in the year. FSU closed
the season strong, winning six of their last eight.

Best ACC Win: Without a doubt, Florida State’s best ACC win came last
week against then-#1 Duke on March 1st. The Seminoles upset the Blue Devils 79-74 in
Tallahassee.

Worst ACC Loss: Before they defeated Duke, everyone said Florida State
needed to beat Virginia Tech to stay on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. They
failed to do so, losing 72-61 in Blacksburg. However they rallied to win their
last two games of the season.

ACC Tournament Outlook: FSU actually has an enviable position heading
into the ACC Tournament. In the first round, they play Wake Forest, a team they
should defeat. In the second round they would play NC State, who will not have
played in nearly a week. If the Noles lose to Wake Forest there will still be
some question as to whether they will make the Big Dance. They need to get at
least one win in Greensboro to solidify things.


#6 Maryland (18-11 overall, 8-8 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Nik Caner-Medley, 15.4 ppg; Ekene Ibekwe, 11.1 ppg; Mike
    Jones, 10.2 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Ekene Ibekwe, 6.7 rpg; Nik Caner-Medley, 6.1 rpg.
  • Top Passers: D.J. Strawberry, 114 assists; Nik Caner-Medley, 59 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: It looked like Maryland’s season was over when they
lost senior guard Chris McCray for the season to academics. The Terps struggled
mightily after he left the team and have won just five games without him.
However they are coming off two consecutive wins over Miami and Virginia to end
the season.

Best ACC Win: Maryland’s best ACC win came way back on December 11 when
they played host to Boston College. The Terps knocked off the Eagles 73-71 in
College Park.

Worst ACC Loss: Maryland lost at Duke 76-52 back on January 11. The game
was hyped by the media, but it was never even close.

ACC Tournament Outlook: Maryland should win their first round game
against Georgia Tech. That should put them in the NCAA Tournament regardless of
whether or not they beat Boston College in the second round. If they lose to
Georgia Tech, they will be at the mercy of the selection committee.


#7 Virginia (14-13 overall, 7-9 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Sean Singletary, 17.8 ppg; J.R. Reynolds, 16.9 ppg;
    Adrian Joseph, 9.9 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Jason Cain, 7.7 rpg; Adrian Joseph, 4.6 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Sean Singletary, 112 assists; J.R. Reynolds, 87 assists
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: Overall, Virginia has had a good season in Dave Leitao’s
first year at the helm. However, the Hoos have faded down the stretch, losing
four of their last five. Three of those losses were blowouts. But overall, it’s
fair to say that UVA has been a major surprise in the ACC this year, considering
they were predicted to finish last.

Best ACC Win: UVA had some good wins this season, but the best came on
January 19 when they upset UNC in Charlottesville. This win let the conference
know that the Cavaliers would not be an easy out this season.

Worst ACC Loss: UVA lost at UNC by 45 late in the season, but the worst
loss was the 26-point shellacking they took at Clemson on February 25 falling
90-64. The Cavs
had defeated Clemson earlier in the season, and this game started their
season-ending three-game losing streak.

ACC Tournament Outlook: Unless they win the entire ACC Tournament, UVA
will not go to the NCAA Tournament. If they lose to Virginia Tech in the first
round, they aren’t a lock to make the NIT, which seemed like a certainty in
the middle of February.


#8 Miami (15-14 overall, 7-9 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Guillermo Diaz, 17.3 ppg; Robert Hite, 16.5 ppg; Anthony
    Harris, 10.5 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Anthony King, 6.8 rpg; Gary Hamilton, 5.7 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Guillermo Diaz, 83 assists; Anthony Harris, 73 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: Miami had NCAA Tournament hopes until recently, but lost
five of their last six games. They are in a major slump, and need to get things
turned around and use the ACC Tournament to secure an NIT bid.

Best ACC Win: Miami’s 81-70 victory over UNC in Chapel Hill on January
14 was a very impressive win, by far the Canes’ best of the season.

Worst ACC Loss: Miami lost 71-51 at Virginia on January 24. Losing on the
road is not a big deal, the Miami didn’t show up ready to play and took an
embarrassing loss because of it.

ACC Tournament Outlook: In all honestly, Miami’s chances in the ACC
Tournament look pretty bleak. They have to play Clemson in the first round, a
team that has won three games in a row and is playing their best basketball in
years. Even if they get past Clemson, they’ll have to face off against Duke in
the second round.


#9 Clemson (18-11 overall, 7-9 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Shawan Robinson, 12.6 ppg; Vernon Hamilton, 12.1 ppg;
    Akin Akingbala, 11.7 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Akin Akingbala, 7.8 rpg; K.C. Rivers, 4.8 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Cliff Hammonds, 94 assists; Vernon Hamilton, 88 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: Clemson had a very streaky season. They started 11-0,
then lost to Georgia and Elon. They were 3-3 in the ACC after six games, but
then lost five in a row. They rallied and won four of their last five games to
end the season. This is the first time since 1964 that Clemson enters the ACC
Tournament having won three games in a row.

Best ACC Win: Clemson’s 90-64 home victory over Virginia began their
recent three-game winning streak, and was the Tigers’ most impressive victory
of the year from a margin standpoint. Their early season ACC win over Florida
State was also big.

Worst ACC Loss: On January 18, Clemson sleepwalked down to Coral Gables
and got spanked by the Canes to the tune of 62-38. How much has Clemson’s
offense improved since then? They have scored at least 86 points in four of
their last five games.

ACC Tournament Outlook: Clemson draws Miami in the first round, but don’t
expect a repeat of their earlier season performance. The Tigers and Hurricanes
have been heading in opposite directions recently. They aren’t being mentioned
as a possible NCAA Tournament team, but with a win over Miami and then an upset
of Duke in the second round, the Tigers would have 20 wins. It would be hard to
keep them out.


#10 Virginia Tech (14-15 overall, 4-12 ACC
)

  • Top Scorers: Zabian Dowdell, 15.3 ppg; Coleman Collins, 14.9 ppg;
    Jamon Gordon, 11.7 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Coleman Collins, 7 rpg; Jamon Gordon, 6 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Jamon Gordon, 130 assists; Zabian Dowdell, 99 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: By now, everyone is familiar with Virginia Tech’s
season. The Hokies lost 11 games by six points or less, and nine of their 29
games were decided at the buzzer. It was a disappointing season for Tech, who
had a number of off court incidents to overcome.

Best ACC Win: The best team Tech beat was Florida State, but their best
win came against Wake Forest. After starting 0-6 in the ACC, the Hokies went to
Winston Salem without Coleman Collins and Deron Washington, used walk-on Chris
Tucker to defend All-ACC center Eric Williams, and came away with a dramatic
76-70 win.

Worst ACC Loss: The 54-49 home loss to Virginia back on January 15 was
Tech’s worst loss of the season. Anytime you hold a team to 54 points, you
should win. Both teams played a pretty bad game, but the Hokies played just a
little worse than the Hoos.

ACC Tournament Outlook: The Hokies have a great chance to defeat Virginia
on Thursday night. The teams are relatively equal, with UVA getting two narrow
victories in the regular season. The Cavs appear to be running out of gas, while
the Hokies have been shooting the ball better than they have all season. But
even if Tech does manage to get past UVA, they are unlikely to survive a game
against UNC in the second round.


#11 Georgia Tech (11-16 overall, 4-12 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Anthony Morrow, 16 ppg; Ra’Sean Dickey, 13.1 ppg;
    Jeremis Smith, 11.1 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Jeremis Smith, 8.4 rpg; Ra’Sean Dickey, 6.6 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Zam Frederick, 107 assists; Mario West, 57 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: Georgia Tech was gutted with the graduation of a number
of great seniors last season, and they had to break in a lot of freshmen and
sophomores this year. The loss of so many good players was evident by the Yellow
Jackets’ record. It was not a good season in Atlanta.

Best ACC Win: Back on January 8, Georgia Tech knocked off Boston College
60-58 to improve to 2-0 in the ACC. That was a big win for the Jackets, but
unfortunately it was their last until February 12.

Worst ACC Loss: Take your pick. The Yellow Jackets were blown out 86-71
by Wake Forest on January 18. Wake Forest finished last in the ACC, so this one
certainly qualifies as GT’s worst loss.

ACC Tournament Outlook: Despite their record, Georgia Tech is a talented
team. But they are inexperienced, and that won’t help them come Thursday. They
have the inside game to defeat Maryland, but their guards must protect the
basketball. Maryland is a very inconsistent team, so an upset isn’t
inconceivable here.


#12 Wake Forest (15-15 overall, 3-13 ACC)

  • Top Scorers: Justin Gray, 18.3 ppg; Eric Williams, 16.3 ppg; Trent
    Strickland, 12.5 ppg.
  • Top Rebounders: Eric Williams, 8.9 rpg; Trent Strickland, 6.6 rpg.
  • Top Passers: Justin Gray, 112 assists; Harvey Hale, 64 assists.
  • Team Info: Roster
    Statistics

Season Summary: In short, it was a very poor season for Wake Forest, who
was ranked in the top 25 until early January. Wake is the perfect example of a
talented team who lacks a competent point guard.

Best ACC Win: Wake whipped NC State 76-63 on Senior Day. It was by far
the best performance of the season for the Demon Deacons, who now have something
positive to build on heading into the ACC Tournament.

Worst ACC Loss: The Virginia Tech loss. Anytime you let a winless team in
the conference come into your house, without two starters, and out-hustle you to
a win, that’s going to qualify as a bad loss.

ACC Tournament Outlook: Wake Forest has some talented players on their
roster, but if they didn’t do anything with them in the regular season, there
is no reason to think they will in the ACC Tournament. The Demon Deacons
must start out against Florida State, who is hungry for another win to improve
their chances at making the NCAA Tournament.

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