ACC Tournament full of excitement
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 13, 2008 1:48 PM
It's the crown jewel of college basketball conference tournaments. A weekend where legends are born.
A celebration of hoops where teams can solidify their NCAA Tournament resumes and an unforgiving gauntlet known for shattering dreams.
The ACC Tournament can be many different things whether you're a team whose ticket to the Big Dance has already been punched or a club on the proverbial bubble.
Here's a look at the 55th edition of the ACC Tournament:
Wake Forest (17-12, 7-9 ACC)
Dino Gaudio's first season in place of the late Skip Prosser has been a difficult one at best. The Demon Deacons could go a long way to erasing the pains of a dissapointing year by putting together a run this weekend in Charlotte. If Gaudio can conjure up the magic his team seemed to possess when it knocked off the Blue Devils at home, Wake Forest could play the role of spoiler.
Virginia (15-14, 5-11)
The conference regular-season, co-champions from a year ago have struggled mightily after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007. Sending Sean Singletary, the latest in a long line of ACC greats, off with a conference tournament win or two would be a fitting end to a spectacular career.
Work left to do:
Maryland (18-13, 8-8)
Maryland's win at North Carolina feels as if it occurred light years ago now that the Terps have dropped five of their last seven. Early losses to American, Ohio and VCU have crippled Maryland's postseason chances. Unless Gary Williams can guide his club to the finals this weekend, it's tough to envision the Terps going dancing next week.
Virginia Tech (18-12, 9-7)
Finishing fourth during the regular season in the ACC more than likely won't be enough to get the Hokies into the field of 65. Virginia Tech's most impressive wins are a pair over Maryland. Losses to Penn State, Old Dominion, Richmond, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Georgia Tech will be difficult to overcome.
Clemson (22-8, 10-6)
The Tigers fit nicely into the annual role of 'team nobody wants to play,' typically embodied by the conference's most upset-minded squad come tournament time. Clemson took Carolina to overtime at home and double-overtime in Chapel Hill. The Tigers would have been winners at Cameron Indoor if not for a late Duke rally. Athletic big men James Mays and Trevor Booker, coupled with sharp-shooting freshmen Terrence Oglesby, make Clemson a tough out for anybody.
North Carolina (29-2, 14-2)
A mostly-healthy Ty Lawson, the conference player of the year in Tyler Hansbrough, and a relatively clear path to Sunday's finals put the Tar Heels in position to hoist another ACC Tournament trophy.
Duke (26-4, 13-3)
If any team heads to Charlotte with a chip on its shoulder, it might be the Blue Devils. Duke's loss to Carolina on Saturday night ended its hopes of winning the ACC regular-season title and more than likely any shot it had at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Further motivation? How about a third meeting against the Heels in the title game?
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