User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

No. 6 Virginia headlines new-look ACC tournament

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - This week's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament has a new look, from more teams and an extra round of games to the school holding the No. 1 seed.

Sixth-ranked Virginia is hoping to pair its first outright regular-season title in 33 years with its first ACC tournament title since winning its only other one in 1976.

The Cavaliers (25-6, 16-2) finished two games ahead of No. 11 Syracuse. Yet coach Tony Bennett said the top seed, only the second for the program, doesn't mean much.

''There's such a small amount of separation and most of these teams will have a chance at it,'' Bennett said Tuesday. ''Who's playing well, and executes, and is the hungriest is going to have the best chance.''

The tournament starts Wednesday with the lowest-seeded teams, while the Cavaliers and the rest of the top four seeds - the Orange, No. 7 Duke and No. 15 North Carolina - don't play until Friday's quarterfinals.

Virginia hasn't reached the semifinals since 1995 and has lost four straight games dating to 2010.

''It seems like the teams that always do well in the postseason, the Dukes and Carolinas, those guys always seem to take a step up when they get into the ACC tournament, the NCAA tournament, whatever it might be,'' Virginia guard Joe Harris said. ''I think that's a step that this program has to take and hopefully we can try to make that stride this year.''

This is the first year for the league with 15 teams with the arrivals of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame from the Big East. That meant adding a fifth day of competition for the first time in the event's 61-year history, with Wednesday's first-round games at the Greensboro Coliseum featuring teams seeded 10th and lower.

Teams seeded fifth through ninth earned a bye into Thursday's second round.

It also marks the final tournament run for Maryland, which is headed for the Big Ten this summer. The Terrapins, who won their last title a decade ago, play Florida State in Thursday's second round.


Here are five things to watch at this week's ACC tournament:

WARREN'S TEAR: North Carolina State's T.J. Warren was named the ACC player of the year on Tuesday after leading the league in scoring (24.8) and shooting percentage (53 percent). He's scored 41 and 42 points in his last two games - the first ACC player to go for 40 in consecutive games in more than 23 years - and has scored at least 36 in three of the past four. He could be a headache for a higher-seeded team like Syracuse or Duke in bracket's bottom half.

SYRACUSE'S SLUMP?: The Orange stood at 25-0 and No. 1 in the country in mid-February, and then lost four of six to close the regular season. Plus, sophomore forward Jerami Grant was battling back problems. Still, coach Jim Boeheim said he didn't think his team was slumping. ''Every team in the country loses games ... and sometimes your schedule gets really hard, and that's what happened with us,'' Boeheim said. ''But overall I think we've played consistently well all year.''

THE OTHER NEW KIDS: Notre Dame has the No. 13 seed and faces No. 12 seed Wake Forest in Wednesday's opener, with the winner facing fifth-seeded Pitt. Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey said the three new arrivals won't have any problems with the reconfigured tournament format since it's similar to their previous Big East home. ''As far as the format,'' he said after practice on Tuesday, ''maybe the teams coming from the Big East are more comfortable because we lived with a crazy schedule.''

SECOND-HALF PAIGE: Can Marcus Paige keep up his second-half run for UNC? The sophomore has repeatedly come up big after halftime, going from averaging 5.9 points and shooting 37 percent in the first half to 11.3 points and 50-percent shooting afterward, according to STATS LLC. ''By nature he's trying to run the team more,'' coach Roy Williams said. ''And then all of a sudden he realizes, `Hey, my part to help this team today might just be scoring again.'''

UNCERTAIN FUTURES: The ACC tournament will be the last chance for bubble teams like Clemson, N.C. State, Maryland and Florida State to make a case to be in the NCAA tournament. There's also uncertainty over whether this will be the final stop for fourth-year Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik, who has struggled to turn around the Demon Deacons. ''I'm not going to talk about anything regarding my job,'' Bzdelik said Tuesday. ''Let's talk about the basketball game.''


AP Sports Writer Hank Kurz in Charlottesville, Va., and Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.


Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Freshmen makes Duke a title favorite
Coaches pick Cincinnati to win AAC
Florida State's Hamilton changing focus
Any ACC win would be great for BC
Avery Johnson aims for strong encore
Wake Forest looks to take step forward
Louisville shoots for NCAA bid after ban
Hokies facing very high expectations
Perrantes, UVA look to make another run
Why Buy Picks From
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
Live Odds
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 3618
Chip Chirimbes + 2069
Joe Nelson + 1709
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Stephen Nover 58 %
John Fisher 57 %
Joe Nelson 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 1808
Antony Dinero + 1369
Jim Feist + 1323
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
James Manos + 1061
Stephen Nover + 565
Joe Williams + 560
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2572
Doc's Sports + 1365
Chip Chirimbes + 1114
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership