Let's not waste any time. We'll get right into it.
#9 Florida State vs. #1 Virginia
Previous: UVA (twice), both +12
From day 1, I have been in love with this Virginia team. I think they are the real deal. They opened and closed their season with losses, first to Duke then to Maryland in a late game loss. Malcolm Brogdon, Akil Mitchell and Joe Harris. Man these guys can really play fundamental basketball. This team handedly defeated Syracuse. While they struggled against Pitt mid-season, they still came away with a victory.
I thought Florida State did a GREAT job playing in front of the defense, pushing the ball down the court very effectively. With a VERY late "pocket pass" to Boris Bojanovsky, Florida State snuck away with a victory. While I think FSU has some serious threats that Virginia needs to handle, I see Virginia coming away with the W. Florida State is a definite bubble team for the dance and will need to win this if they want to see a NCAA post-season.
Prediction: Virginia, 77-65
#4 North Carolina vs. #5 Pitt
Previous: UNC, +4
Pitt looked so good today, I'm not going to lie. They ran away with that game and it wasn't a contest after about 3 minutes into the game. Pitt dominated and did not allow Wake to even consider coming back. This was a big game for them, as scoring has been quite a struggle for them these past few weeks. Zanna and Peterson played real well and are important for the team's success.
For UNC, I think all fans would say that this team has a lot of potential and success when they play well. They are very bi-polar though. It really comes down to a few things for this team- turnovers and free throws. They ranked fifth to last in the NATION in FT's, with 62.1%. That's atrocious!
As for players, UNC needs someone other than James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige to play well, period. When they are on, the team plays well. But, if they can play within themselves and get Leslie McDonald a good game, this team is spectacular.
For this game, I think that Zanna will cause some trouble for North Carolina, but he only dropped 5 points against them earlier this season. They found a way to crowd the lane and not let him get offensive rebounds. While Patterson played well against them earlier with 16 points, I am worried that he is a "hot and cold" sort of player as of late.
It's real hard for me to predict this game after the amazing performance that Pitt had yesterday, but I expected UNC to win this and I am sticking to my gut. Their experienced leadership and their bench will step up and help McAdoo and Paige to a quarterfinal victory.
Prediction: UNC, 79-74
#2 Syracuse vs. #7 NC State
Previous: Cuse, +1
Man, that makes things a little harder huh? NC State won in relatively close fashion, but these teams were separated by 1 point last time they met. That being said, the 1-4 ending really lit a fire under this team I bet.
C.J. Fair needs to play well and this team will be just fine. Another important key to this team is an active offense and defense. With a zone, they have to make sure they don't get flat-footed and "lazy".
For NC State, just one name also- T.J. Warren. He scores so much, 25.5 pts. against ACC opponents to be exact. Against Miami, they lost focus and turned the ball over too many times, giving Miami a chance to get back into the game.
I expect Syracuse to get back into stride before March Madness and have a good tournament.
Prediction: Syracuse, 74-70
#6 Clemson vs. #2 Duke
Previous: Clemson, +13
While Clemson gave Duke a bit of a spanking last time they met, I expect Duke to turn it up, as they do almost every March.
We know Clemson, we just lost to them. They are definitely beatable and looked bad tonight. Duke is solid all around. We just lost and I was hoping to save this part for a Tech write up.. Don't have much I want to say right now.
Prediction: Duke 82, Clemson 67
Who do you have winning in the quarterfinal rounds? All favorites, or will there be an upset?