We're beginning to get to the obvious part of the ACC Tourney. After a couple days of games that either didn't matter very much, or were toss-ups as far as Virginia's interests were concerned, the third day of the ACC Tournament has all the top seeds in action. All of these games involve teams that the Hoos are competing with for seeding and placement in the NCAA tournament.
Game 8: #9 FSU vs #1 Virginia
Hoo Should the Hoos Root For: Really?
Why: Check out Caroline's preview for all the details you need on this matchup.
Game 9: #5 Pitt vs #4 UNC
Hoo Should The Hoos Root For: Pitt
Why: UNC came on strong late in the season, but they are still behind the top 3 seeds in terms of NCAA resume. But if they manage to win a few games, they could jump up to a 3 seed and fight for a slot in a Raleigh pod. The Hoos do not want this. They want the Raleigh pod. Knocking UNC out early would almost certainly send them somewhere else. On the other hand, Pitt is actually rated higher than UNC by Ken Pomeroy (kenpom.com), and they looked very good yesterday against Wake Forest. The Hoos game in Pittsburgh was hard fought and went down to the wire, and there is every reason to believe that a rematch would be the same. Still, UNC is a different team from when the Hoos beat them earlier this year, and Pitt isn't going to jump the Hoos for NCAA seeding regardless of what happens. And that is why we should root for Pitt.
Game 10: #7 NC State vs #2 Syracuse
Hoo Should The Hoos Root For: NC State
Why: Just like the above scenario, Syracuse and Virginia are fighting for seeding and for a spot in East bracket. A loss by Cuse here would just about knock them out of the running for that, considering their late season struggles. NC State always plays well in Greensboro and should have an edge in fan support over the Orange. Also, a win from NC State might be enough to get them into the dance (likely they'd still need an additional win) and that is good for the ACC as a whole. Cuse may well give Duke a better game, but since we're neck and neck with Syracuse for NCAA placement, we need them to lose.
Game 11: #6 Clemson vs #3 Duke
Hoo Should The Hoos Root For: Clemson
Why: Again, same reasoning. In this case, we have the added element of just not liking Duke. Unfortunately, Clemson didn't have as easy a time in their 2nd round matchup as we would've liked, but they are still capable of beating a Duke team that they beat (rather easily) earlier this year. And since we handled Clemson on the road, the idea of facing Clemson in the ACC final is one that Virginia fans will take.