Today's games

Acc Tournament

March 11, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec, Don Markus and Paul McMullen

Quarterfinals

No. 1 North Carolina (26-3, 14-2) vs. No. 9 Clemson (16-14, 5-11)

Time: Noon

Regular season: North Carolina 2-0 (77-58 at Clemson, S.C., and 88-56 at Chapel Hill, N.C.)

Key matchup: North Carolina center Sean May vs. Clemson center Sharrod Ford. May comes in playing perhaps better than any big man in the country. Ford has carried the Tigers all season.

Outlook: North Carolina won the ACC regular-season title and likely has clinched a top seed in the NCAAs, and the Tar Heels' next task is going after their first ACC tourney title since 1998. Standout swing man Rashad McCants may return today after missing the past four games of the regular season with an intestinal disorder. After beating Clemson by 32 in mid-February, they will be heavy favorites today, although Clemson has won five of its past seven games and is playing well.

No. 4 Virginia Tech (15-12, 8-8) vs. No. 5 Georgia Tech (17-10, 8-8)

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Regular season: Virginia Tech 1-0 (70-69 at Atlanta)

Key matchup: Point guard Jarrett Jack steered the Yellow Jackets to the 2004 NCAA final, but sophomore Jamon Gordon has done fine for the Hokies.

Outlook: Two weeks ago, Georgia Tech, not Maryland, was the most disappointing team in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets won three of their past five to tie Virginia Tech for fourth place, but the Hokies are the higher seed because of their regular-season win. Seth Greenberg should be ACC Coach of the Year for the way he toughened a young team, which starts three sophomores and a freshman. Georgia Tech would appear to be in the NCAA tournament, but Virginia Tech must win to maintain its at-large hopes.

No. 2 Wake Forest (26-4, 13-3) vs. No. 7 N.C. State (18-12, 7-9)

Time: 7 p.m.

Regular season: Wake Forest 2-0 (86-75 at Winston-Salem, N.C., and 55-53 at Raleigh, N.C.)

Key matchup: Julius Hodge had only eight points in the most recent matchup with the Demon Deacons after scoring 27 in the first meeting, and will need to put up decent numbers against Wake Forest's Jamaal Levy for the Wolfpack to have any chance.

Outlook: With All-America guard Chris Paul suspended for tonight's game because of his low blow to Hodge last Sunday, the Demon Deacons will have to rely on senior backup Taron Downey to run the offense. That means the Deacons will have little in the way of help in the backcourt, meaning that Downey and Justin Gray need to stay out of foul trouble. While the Wolfpack will be helped by Maryland's loss in terms of its own NCAA hopes, a win tonight will secure one.

No. 3 Duke (22-5, 11-5) vs. No. 11 Virginia (14-14, 4-12)

Time: 9:30 p.m.

Regular season: Duke 1-0 (80-66 at Durham, N.C.)

Key matchup: Duke center Shelden Williams vs. Virginia center Elton Brown. In the teams' only meeting, Williams had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but the stat that jumped out was his nine blocked shots.

Outlook: Duke's five-year run as ACC tournament champ was ended last year by Maryland. The Blue Devils are hoping that a good showing in the tournament will clinch a No. 2 seed in the NCAAs. Cavaliers point guard Sean Singletary gave the Blue Devils problems in Durham with 19 points on his way to a standout freshman season. Virginia needs a win to stay eligible for the National Invitation Tournament, perhaps extending the Pete Gillen era in Charlottesville.

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