The top 4: 1. Virginia (25-6), 2. Syracuse (27-4), 3. Duke (24-7), 4. North Carolina (23-8).
Pitt’s path: The fifth-seeded Panthers (23-8) will have a bye and then will play the winner of No. 12 Wake Forest (16-15) and No. 13 Notre Dame (15-16) Thursday in a second-round game. Pitt has beaten both teams this season. If the Panthers advance that will face No. 4 seed North Carolina Friday in a quarterfinal. The Tar Heels beat the Panthers, 75-71, when the two teams met Feb, 15 in Chapel Hill. The key in that game was North Carolina forward James Michael-McAdoo, who scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. If the Panthers win that game they will advance to the semifinals and likely would face No. 1 seed Virginia. Pitt won’t see Syracuse or Duke, two teams it went 0-3 against, unless it advances to the championship.
Overview: Virginia is the top seed and the Cavaliers play a grinding and patient style that has made it very tough on opponents. If Virginia can lull teams into its style of game, it clearly will have a great opportunity to win the ACC tournament for the first time since 1976. North Carolina hasn’t won the tournament since 2008 but the Tar Heels have won 12 of their past 13. Duke is the most talented team in the field and certainly the most dangerous offensively, making the Blue Devils the favorite. But Duke has been vulnerable to teams with size that can control the paint. Syracuse got a big boost when 6-foot-8 sophomore Jerami Grant returned from injury. The Orange were only 2-4 down the stretch but they are talented enough to win the tournament. Defending champion Miami was crushed by graduation and is the No. 10 seed and would need to get extremely hot to have a chance to repeat. Three dark horses are North Carolina State, which features the ACC player of the year in T.J. Warren; Florida State, which is one of the toughest defensive teams; and Maryland, which knocked off Virginia this past weekend.