CC and Bstreet’s ACC Tourney Picks

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Our top two basketball minds, Chris Coleman and the esteemed Bourbonstreet (Eustace Frederick III), lay out their picks for the 2007 ACC Tournament, from the opening round games all the way to the championship. Bstreet takes an in-depth analytical approach, while CC goes with his instincts in this informative look at what two guys think is going to happen.

Bourbonstreet’s Picks

When it comes to Conference Tourney time I look at five things, no more, no
less: Rebounding margin, experience and defensive FG% allowed (as none of that
can go cold), then I look at recent play (checking for a hot or cold team), then
I look at the bench, as back to back games really wear on thin teams.

So with that in mind, here are my ACC Tourney picks.

First Round Games:

#8 Clemson vs. #9 Florida State:
All things being equal, I like this Clemson team just a tad better than I do
FSU’s. Clemson is the better defensive squad and Clemson is better on the boards
(in particular on the offensive glass). But I like the star-power X-factor of
the ACC’s leading scorer, FSU’s Al Thorton (who shoots 82% from the FT-line this
year) to overcome the slightly deeper Tiger team, which is 4th from last in FT
shooting for the entire NCAA. My pick: FSU.

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Miami:
This one is what the Directv redhead spokesgirl calls “…a no brainer.”
Miami is just too lame in the frontcourt, Maryland is 13th in FG% defense, and
the Terps are on a 7 game win streak. Miami on the other hand has dropped 11 of
its last 13, and very possibly has the thinnest bench in this tourney. This one
is the surest thing I see in the ACC 1st round of play. My pick: Maryland.

#7 Duke vs. #10 NC.State:
A very interesting first round game, as the Blue-Devils are shorthanded via
Gerald Henderson’s elbow’s love of Tyler Hansbrough’s nose. That thins the
Dukies bench a bit, and Henderson was just starting to play some quality hoops.
Duke itself was playing a little better of late, and State is the 2nd worst
offensive rebounding team in D-1. Duke is noticeably better on defense, and
despite Henderson’s one game exodus, still enjoys a somewhat superior bench. My
pick: Duke.

#6 Georgia Tech vs. #11 Wake Forest:
Wake is similar to FSU, in that Wake is a one man gang, as only senior Center
Kyle Visser scores more than 8.6 points per game. Georgia Tech has no worse than
the second deepest bench in the ACC, as nine different Yellow Jackets currently
log 10+ minutes of playing time. Georgia Tech is 16th in defensive FG% allowed,
and 14th in rebounding margin for the whole NCAA. If you want a sleeper pick to
win the whole ACC, it’s the Ramblin’ Wreck. My pick: Georgia Tech.

Second Round Games:

#1 North Carolina vs. #9 Florida State:
Will the most recently famous nose since Pinocchio’s play in the ACC Tourney? At
the time of this writing Tyler Hansbrough was being fitted with a transparent
protective mask and was presumed to be able to play by Friday. That’s good
enough for me, as a one trick pony like FSU just does not have the horses to run
with UNC. The Tar Heels have 156 spot edge in rebounding margin, and a 160 spot
edge in defensive FG% allowed. That’s enough for me to pick UNC, while still
blind on any official Tyler Hansbrough schnoz news. My pick: UNC.

#5 Maryland vs. #4 Boston College:
On the surface, this is a game between two teams moving in opposite directions,
as Maryland is surging, while B.C. is struggling and a bit depleted on their
pine. But B.C. will have the most incoming rest of any ACC tourney team, having
only played once in the last 12 days. That is unless of course you view that as
the most incoming rust, as I do. Maryland is too good on defense, and better
from the charity stripe. This one will be close, but I predict the Terps have
one more win left in them. My pick: Maryland.

#2 Virginia vs. #7 Duke:
These two teams are nearly even in defensive FG% allowed, and are separated by
one single spot in rebounding margin. Duke will have recovered the services of
Henderson by this point, but will still not have quite as deep a bench as UVA’s.
Virginia has the experience edge, the offensive scoring edge, and nearly a 1:2
edge in turnovers. I’ll take the upperclassman heavy backcourt of Virginia in
this one. This year Duke is one and done. My pick: UVA.

#6 Georgia Tech vs. #3 Virginia Tech:
To me this is something of a de facto lower half semi-final, as I like either
team to be able to beat Virginia. But who will win? Though Georgia Tech enjoys
the deeper bench and better rebounding margin, it is our Hokies who play the
tougher defense, and hold a 236 spot edge in turnovers and a 67 spot edge in
blocks. Extra possessions; that’s the bread and butter of Greenberg-ball, and
that’s how we will barely beat what could very well be a superior Yellow Jacket
basketball team. My pick: VT.

Semi-Finals:

#1 UNC vs. #5 Maryland:
This is one of my more subjective takes, but I expect Roy Williams to just plain
ole out run and out press a fatigued Maryland hoops team at this point. Maryland
is a good team, and they do have the experience, and defensive FG% allowed
edges. But UNC has nearly an +8 rebounding margin edge, and a third game in as
many nights will not help that for the Terps. UNC is 4th or better in five of
the fourteen national statistical rankings I track. UNC will just have too much
for a weary Terps hoops team and pull away to win late. My pick: UNC.

#2 Virginia vs. #3 Virginia Tech:
The ACC semi-finals will see a Commonwealth rubber match, after our Hokies split
with Virginia during the regular season. For the second straight ACC tourney
game our Hokies will hold very attractive edges in turnovers and in blocked
shots, 100 spots, and 127 spots respectively. On top of that we will now once
again be the one who will be holding the Commonwealth revenge card, and I like
Tech’s team speed advantage to eventually take its toll. My pick: VT.

ACC Finals:

#1 UNC vs. #3 Virginia Tech:
That only leaves one game, and it will be a doozy! Can anyone rightfully expect
to complete a 3 for 3 sweep of a Roy Williams coached UNC team? Probably not.
But you can expect our very best effort of the year for this one. The big-name
power of UNC and the big-time spotlight of the ACC Finals will bring out the
Hokies’ orange and maroon best.

But will it be enough? In Tech’s two victories vs. UNC, the Heel’s own a +15
rebounding margin edge, which the Hokies have countered with a +7 turnover
margin edge in their favor. But the real difference maker has been 3-point
shooting. Tech is netting 46% from downtown compared to the Tar Heel’s 25%. Not
only that, but VT has only hoisted 26 total trifecta’s, whereas UNC just can not
shoot enough from 19-9, attempting a whopping 43 long-balls all by themselves.
This is conspicuously odd, as UNC only attempts 5.8 trey’s per game on average
over the course of the year. In fact 73% of all NCAA teams attempt more
three-pointers than the Tar Heels do. Ergo, Virginia Tech has really taken UNC
out of their offensive game in the two head-to-head contests this season. That
gives the Hokies a legit chance to win it all.

But I need for Coleman Collins to hold together for 3 back-to-back games in
order for this to happen. He looks far less mobile to me in the last two weeks
than he has all year. But still, I’m going out on the ACC limb, hacksaw firmly
in hand, as its look out below, thin-ice-here-I-come time. My pick: VT.

Chris Coleman’s Picks

First Round Games:

#8 Clemson vs. #9 Florida State:
Clemson defeated Florida State twice during the regular season. Florida
State recently got point guard Toney Douglas back from injury, and they are a
different team with him. I don’t think Clemson will beat them three times. I pick Florida
State.

#5 Maryland vs. #12 Miami:
True, Miami did defeat Maryland in College Park back in January. But the Terps
are on a roll, and they have more talent than the Canes. I pick Maryland.

#7 Duke vs. #10 NC State:
Duke won’t have Gerald Henderson, but it won’t matter. NC State has won
exactly one ACC game against a team not named Virginia Tech or Wake Forest. I
pick Duke.

# 6 Georgia Tech vs. #11 Wake Forest:
Georgia Tech is 16-1 at home, but this game isn’t being played in
Atlanta. However, as bad as they are in true road games, the Yellow Jackets did
defeat Purdue and Memphis on neutral courts during the regular season. I think
the Jackets have more talent. Wake only has one guy (Visser) who averages in
double figures. Not much star power in Winston-Salem these days. I pick Georgia
Tech.

Second Round Games:

#1 UNC vs. #9 Florida State:
Any team that Al Thornton plays for is capable of winning any given
game, but I think the Tar Heels will be ready to play for this one. FSU doesn’t
have the horses on the inside to stop UNC. I pick UNC.

#4 Boston College vs. #5 Maryland:
Boston College has lost four of their last five games, while Maryland
has won seven in a row. The Eagles have shown that they don’t match up well with
athletic teams, and Maryland has some very good athletes in players like
Strawberry and Gist. I pick Maryland.

#2 Virginia vs. #7 Duke:
Virginia won this meeting 68-66 in overtime on a game-winning fade away
by Sean Singletary during the regular season. Both teams play very good team
defense, so this one would likely be low scoring again. I like Virginia’s team
better, but Coach K is such a good tournament coach. Duke has won seven of the
last eight ACC tournaments. It’s tough for me to not pick Duke to make the
semifinals. I pick Duke.

#3 Virginia Tech vs. #6 Georgia Tech:
I didn’t like this matchup when the teams played in the regular season.
I thought Georgia Tech was too tall for the Hokies (not a single starter under
6-5), and too physical on the inside. I was wrong. The Hokies controlled the
game and won 73-65, handing GT their only home loss on the season. Despite that
outcome, I still like Georgia Tech. They have had a lot more room to grow as a
team because of their youth. And they have definitely grown, winning seven of
their past nine. I pick Georgia Tech.

Semifinals:

#1 UNC vs. #5 Maryland:
Maryland has won seven in row heading into the ACC tournament. If they
get to the semis, they’ll have won nine in a row. They are the popular pick of
many people to win the ACC tournament, but I don’t see it. #1, they’d have to
win four games in four days. #2, including their seven game winning streak in
the regular season, they’d have to win 11 ACC games in a row. That won’t happen. I
pick UNC.

#6 Georgia Tech vs. #7 Duke:
These two teams split during the regular season, with each team winning
their home game. Georgia Tech has more athletes. Duke plays great fundamental
basketball and can frustrate teams with their outstanding defense. Freshmen
Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton are very good, but I don’t think they’ll
make the ACC finals in their first season. I pick Duke.

ACC Finals:

#1 UNC vs. #7 Duke:
Roy Williams vs. Coach K, for the third time this year. UNC is way more
talented that Duke. But the Blue Devils will be fired up, and they’ll be
confident. After all, they’ve won seven of the past eight ACC tournaments. But
they won’t win this year. Talent will win out. I pick UNC.

Recap of Picks

BOURBONSTREET’S
PICKS

First Round

Second Round

Semi-Finals

Finals

Champion
#8 Clemson
#9 FSU
#1 UNC
#9 FSU
#1 UNC
#5 Maryland
#1 UNC
#3 VT

VIRGINIA
TECH
#5 Maryland
#12 Miami
#4 BC
#5 Maryland
#7 Duke
#10 NC State
#2 Virginia
#7 Duke
#2 Virginia
#3 VT
#6 GT
#11 Wake
#3 VT
#6 GT
CHRIS
COLEMAN’S PICKS

First Round

Second Round

Semi-Finals

Finals

Champion
#8 Clemson
#9 FSU
#1 UNC
#9 FSU
#1 UNC
#5 Maryland
#1 UNC
#7 Duke

NORTH
CAROLINA
#5 Maryland
#12 Miami
#4 BC
#5 Maryland
#7 Duke
#10 NC State
#2 Virginia
#7 Duke
#7 Duke
#6 GT
#6 GT
#11 Wake
#3 VT
#6 GT

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