Today's the first day of the ACC Tournament! The bottom four teams in the conference tip off this afternoon in D.C. while UVa will wait until Thursday to play. Who should UVa fans plan on rooting for? They way I see it, there are three schools of thought to choose from:
1) Root for the easier-to-beat teams to advance, so that UVa will get an easier potential match up later in the tournament. Usually, this is a fine way to approach it - but probably more suited for watching the NCAAT, because the earliest any of these teams will play UVa is in the semi-finals, which would be the fourth game in a row for any of the teams.
2) Root for the team more likely to upset better teams later, but still provide a beatable matchup for UVa. For instance, FSU would have a better chance of beating VT and Miami after BC than BC would. If the Eagles pull off their first conference win of the year by beating the Seminoles, the chances of them playing UVa in the semis are still non-existent. So this school of thought would say root for FSU, so that they could potentially be our semi-final opponent if they get past the Hokies and Canes. This would be highly unlikely, of course, but still much more plausible than Boston College doing it.
3) Whatever would be most amusing. Let's face it: none of these teams should have any shot of playing against UVa later in the week. None of these games impacts UVa's perceived strength of schedule, changes bad losses, or bumps up standard wins to good wins. We might as well, as fans of basketball, enjoy the competition and find whatever will provide the most amusement in relatively meaningless games.
So with that, I present three different cheering guides for these first two games:
Game 1: #12 NC State vs. #13 Wake Forest (Noon, ESPN2)
School 1) Wake is probably the worse of the two teams, though it took a miracle shot for the Hoos to get past them this year, while UVa beat down NC State at home. Still, Cat Barber is a top tier player and so were UVa to play either in the ACC Championship game, I'd rather it be Wake. Root for the Deacs.
School 2) Considering Cat Barber and the surrounding talent, NCSU is more likely to knock off Duke in the next round, and really even ND and UNC to follow. Now, this is still highly unlikely especially considering the wear and tear of the daily games, but if anyone has a Kemba Walker run to them, it's Barber. Root for State and let them wreck things on the other side of the bracket.
School 3) Mark Gottfried losing a play in game with all star talent on his roster? Hilarious. One could argue that Barber and Company beating Duke and others down the road would result in more overall amusement throughout the tournament (as it totally would), but in a pure "what's the most amusing outcome for this one game?" discussion, the answer is State losing. Go Deacs.
Game 2: #11 Florida State vs. #14 Boston College (2:30 PM-ish, ESPN2)
School 1) Clearly, the worst team in the conference is BC. They are objectively awful and winless in the conference this year. Maybe they'll pull some Angels in the Outfield shenanigans and win three games in a row! But if that's the case, then the Angels will help them win over UVa too...do I like Tony Bennett's chances versus a team assisted by divine intervention? Only a little bit. Root for BC to pull off a miracle.
School 2) FSU has the talent on its young roster to make a run in D.C. for sure. Honestly, I'm completely shocked they did so poorly in the conference games this year. They could definitely beat VT after taking care of BC, which would prevent the Hoos from having to play the Hokies were they to beat Miami. Would I rather play VT than Miami because they're the worst team? Honestly, the idea of there being a slight chance of losing is too stressful and gross to consider - and Buzz Williams has his guys playing really really well. But, I digress. Root for FSU because if they go on a run, UVa might get to play them instead of better teams.
School 3) This is a really tough call. My heart says "let BC win a game! They seem like good kids!" but it's also still sort of amusing to consider them finishing a perfect garbage conference run. However, upsets are always going to be more amusing all else being equal, plus seeing Leonard Hamilton's face as the final buzzer sound would be a real treat. Let's go, Boston College.
Hope that helps, Hoo fans!
Join this thread for discussion of both games as we watch four teams who have little chance of playing UVa this week. (Not like I'm not going to watch every minute of each game regardless).