The 33rd annual ACC Women's Tournament gets underway tomorrow in Greensboro. Wake Forest takes the court in the first game of the tournament as the 5 seed against the last place and 12th seeded Miami Hurricanes at 11 A.M.
The Wake Forest women come into the game with a 17-12 record and are looking to make some noise in the tournament to perhaps have an outside chance at an NCAA tournament bid, which would be the second in Wake Forest history.
Thursday at the ACC Women's Tournament sees eight of the 12 conference teams take the court. The format of the tournament is identical to the men's tournament with the top 4 teams receiving byes to Friday. The Wake women narrowly missed out on fourth place, as the last day of games on Sunday determined the 4th and 5th spots in the conference. Tomorrow features a balance of teams which normally find themselves playing on Thursdays, and newcomers to the first round of the tournament. In perhaps one of the more surprising match-ups, North Carolina and Maryland will face off in the 8-9 game.
5. Wake Forest (17-12) vs. 12. Miami (17-12), 11 A.M.
Wake Forest and Miami come into this opening tournament games with identical records. Wake Forest went 7-7 in conference and finished in a tie for 5th, while Miami finished the year at 4-10 in a three-way tie for 10th, losing out on tiebreakers to both Virginia Tech and Clemson. The two teams met only once during the regular season with Wake Forest winning the lone meeting 67-64 in Winston-Salem. The winner will face four seed Georgia Tech at 11 A.M. on Friday.
8. North Carolina (18-10) vs. 9. Maryland (18-11), 3 P.M.
In both the most interesting and baffling match-up tomorrow, the Tarheels take on the Terps to see who will face one seed Duke in the second round. Both teams are perennial powerhouses in women's basketball and both have struggled this year inside the conference. Two weeks ago, UNC fell out of the top 25 for the first time since 2001, and they come into the game having lost seven of their last nine. Interestingly enough, they were able to knock off rival Duke in the last game of the year 64-54. The Maryland women also find themselves limping into the tournament having lost five of their last seven including a crushing 94-61 defeat in the season finale to Florida State. UNC won the lone match-up this season 75-64 in Chapel Hill.
7. Boston College (15-14) vs. 10. Virginia Tech (15-14), 6 P.M.
Boston College and Virginia Tech also come into the ACC tournament with identical records. BC went 6-8 in conference and finished in a tie for 7th, while Virginia Tech went 4-10, which was good for a tie for 10th with Clemson and Miami. Boston College has lost four of their last five games including a 69-64 loss to Virginia Tech just two weeks ago. Virginia Tech has won 2 of their last 3 and are looking to extend their season with a win over the Eagles. The two teams met only once this year, with Virginia Tech netting the win 69-64 in Blacksburg. The winner takes on second seeded Florida State in the second round.
6. North Carolina State (17-12) vs. 11. Clemson (13-17), 8 P.M.
North Carolina State and Clemson both come into the tournament fresh off of wins in their season finales. State knocked off Georgia Tech 54-46, while Clemson beat Wake Forest 67-62. NC State finished the season at 7-7 in the conference tied with Wake Forest, while Clemson went 4-10 and finished in a tie for 10th. Clemson is regarded by most supporters of ACC basketball as the worst team in the conference this year as their 13-17 record certainly supports. Clemson won the only match-up of the season 69-56 at home back in January. The winner of this game will get a chance to play three-seeded Virginia on Friday night.
Thursday promises to be a game full of exciting women's basketball. There are plenty of ticket packages available still for the tournament so get out there and support the Lady Deacs if at all possible tomorrow morning. As of tipoff tomorrow morning in the Wake-Miami game, all twelve teams still have a chance to win the tournament and grab the automatic bid to the NCAAs, making the excitement of these games unlike the regular season. Hold onto your hats, March Madness is about to start!