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2011 Senior Night Gallery
ACC Tournament Coverage Sponsor

Round 1: #5 GaTech 81, #12 VaTech 58

2011 ACC Tournament Preview
By Rob Clough
March 2, 2011

DWHoops Will Cover Entire Tournament


The 2011 ACC Tournament kicks off this Thursday -- DWHoops will be there to provide full coverage of all 11 games (including photo galleries). To relive the 2010 Tournament, you can visit our archive.

For the tournament we welcome a new sponsor -- The Sneauxball Effect. Located in downtown Graham just north of I-85/I-40 (exit 147) their specialty is flavored crushed ice "sneauxballs" -- or for the ultimate treat, sneaxballs stuffed with soft-serve ice cream! In addition to their storefront they are available for catering and special events -- to learn more check out their Facebook Page.

Our coverage is also made possible by our DWHoops members, we thank those who have increased their support specifically for the tournament. It's not to late to join DWHoops -- the only way to view larger photos on the site and to access our members' only message board. For more info on memberships, please click here.

Now, on to the previews, presented in the three team groups...


Group 1: (5) Georgia Tech vs. (12) Virginia Tech; (4) Maryland

11:00 AM Tipoffs - RSN TV

In Thursday's first round, the Jackets should have no difficulty dispatching a dispirited Virginia Tech club, given their pressure defense and urgency heading into the postseason. That will set up a Friday morning grinder grinder between the Jackets and Terps. The Jackets will press and then fall into a zone, daring the Terps to shoot. Maryland will counter with frosh star Alyssa Thomas off the dribble. If she can get inside GT's zone, the Terps will pull away. This is an opportunity for Alex Montgomery to demonstrate that she's an elite player instead of an also-ran. I see this one as being too close to call. Let me put it this way: if Maryland wins, they could go all the way to the finals. That said, the stickiness of GT's defense will make that difficult. In the end, I'll give the slightest of edges to GT based on their experience.


Group 2: (8) Virginia vs. (9) Wake Forest; (1) Duke

3:00 PM Tipoffs - RSN TV

Both the Hoos and Deacs had high hopes for this season, but neither have materialized. Wake was especially disappointing given their 7-7 finish a year ago and the fact that they returned most of their talent. The problem is that the team's younger players and veterans simply haven't meshed all that well. As for Virginia, they have a team full of solid role players and no stars. Wake often plays better in Greensboro than in the doldrums of the regular season, so I wouldn't be surprised to see them eke out a tough win on Thursday. A motivated Wake squad is actually a tougher matchup for Duke on Friday, given their depth, size (center Sandra Garcia can be a great player) and shooters. Virginia is a tougher and more together team that's starting to get dependable contributions from their youngest players. If Duke plays to their strengths and doesn't go through any ridiculous offensive lapses, they should be able to get through to the next round.


Group 3: (7) Boston College vs. (10) NC State; (2) Miami

6:00 PM Tipoffs - Free Webcast at theACC.com

BC should have all sorts of advantages over tiny NC State on Thursday evening, but they split during the regular season. State has no shot at postseason play (other than winning the whole tournament) but their young players are starting to show their mettle. Forward Kody Burke in particular has been a difference-maker. I expect the Eagles to eventually grind them down in this game and win a halfcourt battle. Miami swept the Eagles but trailed by significant margins in both games before rallying. The Canes' frenetic style should simply be too much for BC on Friday night, though it must be noted that Miami has never won an ACC tournament game. Given their success on the road this year, I don't see that as a problem this time around.


Group 4: (6) UNC vs. (11) Clemson; (3) Florida State

8:00 PM Tipoffs - Free Webcast at theACC.com

This may wind up being the most entertaining group. UNC should be able to dispose of Clemson no matter what, but take note of the team's energy during this game. Their anemic play in the last win over the Tigers presaged their current four-game losing streak. The Heels beat the Noles in their first matchup on a night when Jessica Breland had 22 points. She hasn't been nearly up to that standard in recent weeks, a factor that has left this UNC team resembling the dispirited, disorganized bunch of a year ago. If UNC's players can rally around each other, they can go a long way in the tournament. If not, expect the talented and big FSU team to move on.



2011 Senior Night Gallery
 
Round 1: #5 GaTech 81, #12 VaTech 58

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