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Will Duke get Mike Krzyzewski one more ACC tournament championship before the longtime coach retires? Or can one of the conference’s 14 other teams prevent the Blue Devils from making a run to the title?
We’ll find out soon enough, as the 2022 ACC tournament is set to take place from March 8-12 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Duke has already secured the No. 1 seed for the tourney, and as the only conference team ranked in the AP Top 25 poll, the Blue Devils will enter as the favorite to win the event.
No program has won the ACC tournament more than Duke, which has captured the title 21 times. Krzyzewski has been at the helm for 15 of those championships, and he just led the Blue Devils to their 13th regular-season ACC title during his tenure.
Here’s the full schedule for this year’s ACC tourney, followed by some predictions for the event.
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First Round (March 8)
Game 1: No. 12 seed vs. No. 13 seed, 2 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Game 2: No. 10 seed vs. No. 15 seed, 4:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Game 3: No. 11 seed vs. No. 14 seed, 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network
Second Round (March 9)
Game 4: No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 seed, noon ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Game 5: No. 5 seed vs. Game 1 winner, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Game 6: No. 7 seed vs. Game 2 winner, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Game 7: No. 6 seed vs. Game 3 winner, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Quarterfinals (March 10)
Game 8: No. 1 seed vs. Game 4 winner, noon, ESPN or ESPN2
Game 9: No. 4 seed vs. Game 5 winner, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Game 10: No. 2 seed vs. Game 6 winner, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Game 11: No. 3 seed vs. Game 7 winner, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Semifinals (March 11)
Game 12: Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Game 13: Game 10 winner vs. Game 11 winner, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Championship (March 12)
Game 14: Game 12 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
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Virginia has been among the best teams in the ACC in recent years, but it hasn’t been quite as strong during the 2021-22 season. The Cavaliers are 17-12 and 11-8 in conference play, and they’ll be either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed in the ACC tournament.
Either way, Virginia may have a tough time getting past the quarterfinals, as it will likely be taking on either Notre Dame or North Carolina at that point in the tourney. And the Cavaliers are 0-2 against those teams this season, having lost once each to the Fighting Irish and Tar Heels.
Virginia has lost three of its past four games heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale at Louisville, as it’s been struggling to finish off close games. That may not bode well for the Cavaliers’ chances at making a deep run in the ACC tournament.
The prediction here is that Virginia will be the No. 7 seed, win its second-round matchup against either the No. 10 or No. 15 seed and then get stopped by No. 2-seeded Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. The Cavaliers won’t match up great against a Fighting Irish squad that shot 43.5 percent from three-point range (10-for-23) the last time the teams met on Jan. 29.
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One of the hottest teams in the ACC heading into the conference tournament is Virginia Tech, which has been on a roll of late. The Hokies have won nine of their past 10 games, and with their victory against Louisville on Tuesday, they snapped the program’s 17-game losing streak against the Cardinals.
Virginia Tech should win its regular-season finale at Clemson on Saturday, making it the No. 6 seed in the ACC tourney. But if it’s going to make a run to the championship game, it will likely have to get past both North Carolina and Notre Dame in the two prior rounds.
The Hokies can’t be counted out right now, though. Plus, they already beat the Fighting Irish earlier in the season, and although they went 0-2 against the Tar Heels, they were competitive in each of those matchups.
Don’t be surprised if Virginia Tech knocks off both North Carolina and Notre Dame, reaches the championship game and subsequently secures an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament. The Hokies are on a roll, and their three-point shooting (an ACC-best 39.2 percent) could take them far.
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While Notre Dame, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Virginia battle it out in the bottom half of the ACC tournament bracket, Duke may have no trouble cruising through the top half. That’s what the Blue Devils have done for most of the season while compiling a 16-3 conference record.
Freshman forward Paolo Banchero has impressed, averaging 16.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in Duke’s first 30 games. But he’s far from the only talented player in the Blue Devils’ lineup, as they possess numerous playmakers who make them difficult to beat.
Considering it’s the final season of Krzyzewski’s illustrious career, Duke should have extra motivation to have a strong postseason. This will be the last opportunity for the longtime coach to rack up some more accolades and cap his head-coaching career on a strong note.
So expect Duke to roll through the ACC tournament, winning the championship and keeping its momentum going for the upcoming NCAA tourney.
original source: ACC Tournament 2022: Complete Schedule and Updated Bracket Predictions