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The Chronicle's guide to the 2017 ACC tournament


Leading up to this week's ACC tournament in New York at the Barclays Center, The Chronicle previewed all 15 teams participating and broke down Duke's potential path to the ACC title game. Check back throughout the week as we update the bracket in real time and recap each game leading up to Saturday night's conference championship game—game recaps can be found at the bottom of the story.

Click on the team names below for breakdowns of each unit and how they can make a run this postseason.

Championship: Saturday, March 11

No. 5 Duke 75, No. 3 Notre Dame 69

Freshman Jayson Tatum made his mark on the biggest of stages with a pair of strong finishes in the last two minutes of the game and a key block on a Steve Vasturia layup. Tatum also assisted on a crucial 3-pointer by Matt Jones—his first of the tournament—as the Blue Devils rallied from a second-half deficit once again to claim their first ACC title since 2011. Despite controlling play for much of the first half, Duke allowed the Fighting Irish to hang in the game and a 29-point, nine-rebound performance by forward Bonzie Colson gave Notre Dame a late lead. But after graduate student Amile Jefferson helped the Blue Devils battle back late, Tatum put the finishing touches on the Fighting Irish as Duke became the first team to win four games in four days in the ACC tournament. 

Semifinals: Friday, March 10

No. 5 Duke 93, No. 1 North Carolina 83 

The Blue Devils are looking like the preseason No. 1 team in the nation at the perfect time. Duke overcame a 13-point deficit and shut down the Tar Heels inside led by its four top scorers to advance to the ACC title game for the first time since 2014. Even though North Carolina looked unstoppable early on, the Tar Heels looked shaken when Grayson Allen and Jayson Tatum started getting help from Luke Kennard and Frank Jackson offensively after halftime.

No. 3 Notre Dame 77No. 2 Florida State 73

The Fighting Irish opened the game up in the last half of the first period led by its balanced offense, building an 18-point lead late in the first half then. Notre Dame's trio of Bonzie Colson, Steve Vasturia and Matt Farrell combined for 51 points, and the Fighting Irish got a huge boost from reserve guard Matt Ryan—who canned three 3-pointers—to put themselves in position to capture their second ACC tournament title in three years. 

Quarterfinals: Thursday, March 9

No. 1 North Carolina 78, No. 9 Miami 53

Although the Hurricanes closed the first half with a nice spurt to pull within five going into the locker room, but the Tar Heels never let up after halftime. The tournament's top seed used its fresh legs and depth to wear down Miami and pull away, cruising to a 25-point win led by Isaiah Hicks' 19 points. North Carolina will face Duke for the third time this season in Friday's first semifinal.

No. 5 Duke 81, No. 4 Louisville 77

In the best game of the tournament so far, two top-15 teams went at it all afternoon, with both teams ripping off big runs in the first and second halves. After falling behind by 12 with about 13 minutes left, the Blue Devils switched to a zone defense to spark their best comeback of the year. Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard combined for 49 points, and Grayson Allen came off the bench to play his best game in a month as Duke took advantage of 11 Louisville missed free throws.

No. 2 Florida State 74, No. 7 Virginia Tech 68

Hokie forward Chris Clarke is out for the season with a torn ACL, and Florida State's took advantage of the team's limited depth. Although the upset-minded Hokies took an early lead led by top two scorers Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, the Seminoles eventually imposed their will after halftime, gobbling up 18 offensive free throws and getting 15 second-half points from star Dwayne Bacon to advance. Florida State will take on Notre Dame Friday night.

No. 3 Notre Dame 71, No. 6 Virginia 58

The Fighting Irish had never beaten Virginia since joining the ACC, but first-team All-ACC forward Bonzie Colson's strong double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds quickly changed that. Three other Notre Dame starters scored in double figures, and the Fighting Irish held Virginia star London Perrantes to 1-of-9 shooting to advance to another ACC tournament semifinal.

Second round: Wednesday, March 8

No. 9 Miami 62, No. 8 Syracuse 57

In a season of late escapes, Syracuse could not pull off another and now finds itself squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble. Miami jumped out to an eight-point halftime lead behind its stingy defense and withstood multiple Orange runs as a potential game-tying 3-pointer from Syracuse guard John Gillon clanked off the rim in the waning seconds of the contest. The Hurricanes got a standout performance from forward Kamari Murphy, who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Murphy and his teammates will have their work cut out for them Thursday afternoon when they look to beat North Carolina for the second time this season

No. 5 Duke 79, No. 12 Clemson 72

The Blue Devils withstood a furious Tiger rally for the second time this season, with Luke Kennard scoring the team's last four baskets and shaking of a 1-of-9 start to put the game away. Kennard and freshman Jayson Tatum and Frank Jackson scored 20 points apiece for Duke, which put its first-half foul woes in the past and advanced to set up a intriguing matchup with fourth-seeded Louisville Thursday.

No. 7 Virginia Tech 99 No. 10 Wake Forest 90

Just four days after the Demon Deacons won at Virginia Tech, the Hokies exacted revenge in a high-scoring thriller. Forward Zach LeDay would not let Virginia tech fall, pouring one of the tournament's best performances with 31 points and 15 rebounds to push the Hokies across the finish line and have Wake Forest nervous heading into Selection Sunday.

No. 6 Virginia 75, No. 14 Pittsburgh 63

Although the Panthers mounted a rally to cut Virginia's lead to one in the second half, Virginia got 20 points from standout freshman sharpshooter Kyle Guy and key plays from Ty Jerome and Jack Salt to keep Pittsburgh at bay. Virginia took advantage of the Panthers' defensive woes to the tune of 16 assists on 24 made baskets, and will look to execute well against third-seeded Notre Dame in Thursday's last quarterfinal.

First round: Tuesday, March 7

No. 12 Clemson 75, No. 13 N.C. State 61

A season to forget for the Wolfpack ended with a thud Tuesday. N.C. State struggled early and often with the turnovers and defensive lapses that have defined the season, allowing Clemson to race out to a 39-28 halftime lead. Sophomore guard Shelton Mitchell led the Tigers with 22 points and six assists, and star forward Jaron Blossomgame added 22 as Clemson set up a rematch with Duke Wednesday afternoon.

No. 10 Wake Forest 92, No. 15 Boston College 78

The Demon Deacons showed why they are one of the hottest teams in the ACC, knocking down their first three 3-pointers en route to a fourth straight win. First-team All-ACC forward John Collins put together yet another double-double performance, and Bryant Crawford lived at the free throw line as Wake Forest avoided a loss that could have killed its NCAA tournament chances. Head coach Danny Manning's team will take on Virginia Tech Wednesday evening.

No. 14 Pittsburgh 61, No. 11Georgia Tech 59

In a defensive battle, 14th-seeded Pittsburgh pulled the first upset of the week, using a Michael Young layup with 1:06 remaining to go up by five before holding off Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets likely needed a win to stay in NCAA tournament contention, but could not find an offensive rhythm against the Panthers' leaky defense. After Georgia Tech pulled within two with 8.5 seconds left and Pittsburgh missed one of two free throws that could have made it a two-possession game, Pittsburgh fouled to prevent the Yellow Jackets from getting off the game-tying 3-pointer. The Panthers will look to spring another upset in what should be a second straight low-scoring game against Virginia Wednesday.


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