Posted by KCarpenter on November 18th, 2011
While technically speaking the pre-conference tournaments started long before yesterday, counting the opening rounds of the NIT and a few others with qualifiers, but Thursday was the day that the tournaments began in earnest. I thought it would be a useful exercise to go through the list of all 12 ACC teams and evaluate their individual chances of winning their respective tournaments.
Boston College – 76 Classic
The Boston College team picked to finish last in the ACC would have a tough time in just about any competitive tournament field. An opening game against St. Louis will be challenging enough, as SLU is one of the better teams in a very strong Atlantic 10 this year. If they pass St. Louis, they will probably have to play Villanova, a tough out for an ultra-young BC team. The rest of the field includes New Mexico and Santa Clara, both capable of pushing Boston College to the breaking point. There’s not a good chance that the Eagles win this tournament, but they could at least win the opener.
Clemson – Diamond Head Classic
Xavier is the easy favorite for this tournament, but fortunately for Clemson, they are positioned on the other side of the bracket along with the (by-December) battle-hardened Long Beach State. The Beach is gunning for upsets and Xavier will have to take care to win its opening matchup against Casper Ware and company. Clemson’s path to the finals is significantly easier. The Tigers’ side of the bracket features rebuilding Kansas State, inexperienced UTEP, and a Southern Illinois team that isn’t what it once was. Clemson should make the finals, but taking down XU will be a challenge.
Duke – Maui Invitational
Duke Has Never Lost In Maui (12-0)
The Maui Invitational is loaded, but I’d say that Duke has a good shot at a heavyweight bout with Kansas, and a fair shot at winning considering the troubles the Jayhawks had against Kentucky. Duke will have to beat either a talented Michigan or Memphis team after beating Tennessee (which the Blue Devils should). Michigan and Memphis are both teams with a lot of potential that hasn’t necessarily translated to wins yet and both are trying to make the leap this year. Beating Duke is a great way to make such a statement. On the other side of the bracket, Kansas just has to beat Georgetown to have a clear shot at the final considering the troubles that have plagued Ben Howland’s UCLA team. Beating Kansas, even in a down year is a tall order, but in a head-to-head match-up, I think Duke is certainly good enough to win.
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