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ACC tournament: Favorites, underdogs and dark horses

In about four hours, the first round of the ACC tournament will kick off with Virginia taking on Boston College. That's the first of four games that will take place today at Greensboro Coliseum, none of which will involve Maryland.

Owning the tournament's No. 2 seed, Maryland received a first-round bye and stands as one of the four teams that would have to be considered favorites this week. In fact, every ACC team fits into a particular category entering the conference tournament, just as Maryland Coach Gary Williams said.

"Everybody's in a different situation," Williams said Monday. "Some teams have made the NCAAs; some teams are trying to get in. And there might be a couple teams that really don't have a realistic chance of getting in. But that doesn't mean those teams -- any one of those three groups -- aren't going to show up ready to play. And that's the thing that's great about the tournament every year. You never know what you're going to get from some teams. I guess to a lot of people there's always some upsets, but it's usually that team that is able to handle whatever their situation is that really gets ready to play. And then they play some great basketball."

As for which ACC team belongs in which of those categories, I'll leave that to my colleague Eric Prisbell over at The 65.

But we'll divide things up ourselves* here at Terrapins Insider, and I'm interested in your thoughts as we approach the start of the ACC tournament. Feel free to expand on your choices in the comments section below.

* Here's how the categories were determined: If the team finished with 10 or more losses in ACC play, it was deemed an underdog; if the team finished with between 7 and 10 wins in ACC play, it was deemed a dark horse; if the team finished with a share of the ACC regular season title, it was deemed a favorite. Pretty scientific, huh?

By Steve Yanda  |  March 11, 2010; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Terps fine-tuning their offense for ACC tournament


While I realize that MD's opener is going to be tough regardless (GT because they are big and athletic and shoulda won in CP and UNC because of the home-game environment) I like that MD avoids having to face either VT or Wake in the semis. As an MD fan I'd much rather face FSU or Clemson than either Wake or VT.....

All that said - seems to me the stars have aligned for another ACC title for the Terps - with GV and Gary already earning some awards.....

Posted by: putnam23 | March 11, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

The ACC tourney championship would be a real nice thing to have heading into the dance. Look to see our guys playing hard and focussed to try and bring home another banner and hardware. For once, I don;t sense GW is underplaying its potential importance. Looking forward to Friday night's game.

regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | March 11, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I may have to eat my words, and I'm happy to do so, but I think the Terps will lose to Georgia Tech.

Not much to support my reasoning why, but things feel to me the way the did back in 2002 when it seemed to me that the Terps weren't really caring about how they performed in the ACC tournament and had their eye on the bigger prize.

I don't see us winning the national championship, but I do see a run to the final four as a possibility, depending upon our draw.

Posted by: H1Dynasty | March 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Look out H1Dynasty!!!

The thought police led by Garo are going to be after you. With comments like that they have deciced you aren't a REAL Terp fan.

You had better start drinking the Koolaid or the will suggest that you NEVER post another comment on this site...

Posted by: petecard | March 11, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Terps win another game this year. They lose to Wake and then lose to the dreaded 12 seed in the tournament. Hopefully this failure wakes up the University and Athletic Dept and they force GW to finally resign. That, combined with GV finally graduating and ridding us of his embarassing antics and selfish play, should allow us to move forward with a new coach who can recruit AAU and 5 Star players and undoubtedly take us to the next level....A True UMD Basketball Dynasty!!!!

Posted by: fushezzi | March 11, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

So it's hard to find anywhere - does that mean that for the next round - the lowest winning seed plays the highest seed?

Posted by: cmecyclist | March 11, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse


check here for bracket

Posted by: fushezzi | March 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Seeing as I've known h1dynasty for almost half my life and have been on message boards with him for about a decade, i don't think i'll be "going after" him Petey. I've never said on this site or elsewhere that you're not a "REAL" terp fan if you think we'll lose a particular game. That's just silly. I would say if you wanted Gary Williams fired and you wanted Greivis Vasquez to go pro early bc you thought he was bad for the team--as you did PETECARD--that would qualify you as a complete idiot, but not doesn't mean you're not still a fan. As long as you're still rooting for MD to win games, you're still a fan in my book.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 11, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Look out H1Dynasty!!!

The thought police led by Garo are going to be after you. With comments like that they have deciced you aren't a REAL Terp fan.

You had better start drinking the Koolaid or the will suggest that you NEVER post another comment on this site...

Posted by: petecard | March 11, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Petecard - you weren't one of those Gary Bashers last year (thought you were, but could be wrong). You obviously have some type of heated rivalry w/ some (or one) of the posters. Just one thought for everyone, "just let is go". Every comment does not have to be a smite at another's comments - does it? No offense, but many of your posts are about the same - - & that 'same' is getting old. Get a new schtick so we can all be better off versus "here we go again". Just a thought.

Go Maryland - win or lose still a fan.

I think Tourney will be a good one. Maryland could win it all or lose first game - it will be tough, but fun.

Go Terps!!

Posted by: kevinb2000 | March 11, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't think any of the "underdogs" really have a chance of making noise. However, I chose UNC mainly because of the home court advantage. Plus, well, they're UNC and one would think they'd play with pride at SOME point this year.

For the "dark horses" I think many of those teams are capable of making a run, although I believe it's unlikely that they will. I chose Clemson because I was impressed with Stitt when we played Clemson the second time around. He has the potential to be a game-changer with his quickness, and a polished, senior big to dump it inside to in Booker. However, Clemson tends to choke late in the year so who knows.

I think that the most likely scenario is a 3rd MD vs. Duke game, which is probably what most fans would like to see unless they are supporters of another ACC school, of course.

Looking forward to the tourney. GO TERPS!

Posted by: CYork1 | March 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

To all of you angry posters, I say this:

Quit copying and pasting and rehashing the past. Go Terps.

Posted by: epdaly | March 11, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Quit copying and pasting and rehashing the past. Go Terps.

Posted by: epdaly | March 11, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

You're not the boss of me!!!

Posted by: fushezzi | March 11, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Anyone subscribe to the idea that it's better to lose in the semis to keep the team fresh for the NCAA tournament?

Posted by: acebojangles | March 11, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

acebojangles -

Gottaneedahaveawannageta, or something like that. I've thought about that too, but I think that these guys are young and in shape and have three or four days between games, so I don't think it's a huge factor. Although I'd love for somebody to do the research and show how conference tournament champs have done in the NCAAs over the past decade or so.

Posted by: CYork1 | March 11, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

You know, h1dynasty, I think the difference between now and 2002 is that Maryland already had a high seed locked up in 2002 because of a stronger overall record and higher national profile from the beginning of the year. This year they're looking at a 5-6 seed right now but need the tournament to get them up to a 2-3. There's a lot of difference there.

Posted by: pipkin42 | March 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

No one has the terps as a 6 right now.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 11, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

No one has them as a 6 right now. In other words... you are really, really stupid pipkin.

You should fact check with garo before you post anything!

Posted by: petecard | March 11, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Petecard, you are killing this blog with your dumb*ss comments.

Posted by: Terps4life1 | March 11, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Lunardi had them as a 6 yesterday, today they are a 5. I was shocked to see them as a 6, but after the 3/6 versus 4/5 debate, i am actually cool with it

Posted by: jpfterps | March 11, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@acebojangles and @CYork1

ive been thinking a lot on those lines lately as it pertains to duke...they have pretty much dominated the acc touny for the better part of 15 years with 9 in a row at one point...almost always playing on sunday if not winning on sunday...

yet come to think of it, outside of the national championship year when they beat us in the final four, i believe they have been a big disappointment and underachiever in the big dance for the most part...going out before they were supposed to...

makes me wonder how taxing it is on big dance potential to expend what it takes to win the conf tourny...

barno is a stats/facts junkie...maybe he can drum something up on that for us!

Posted by: deadskin | March 11, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

jfpterps, don't know what you were shocked at, Lunardi has had MD as a the 5 seed in San Jose since last saturday.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 11, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

deadskin, there are definitely stats on this but all I could find in a quick search was this piece on success/failure in the big 12 tourney over the years and its impact on how you do in the ncaas. In the Big 12's case, losing early in the conf tourney didn't do anything to help the teams going forward. Conversely, having success in the conf tourney appears to have helped those teams in the big dance (maybe bc of the momentum, or maybe bc those were just better teams to begin with).

Posted by: Barno1 | March 11, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually Barno1, Lunardi had Maryland as a 6 seed wednesday morning.

On another note, am I the only one hoping we don't pull a 4/5 with Gtown as the other 4/5. They are not a team I'd want to play right now.

Posted by: fushezzi | March 11, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

That's weird, they were a 5 seed on there after the win at UVA and have those sideways arrows next to our team indicating no recent movement. Either way, we're a 5 now and can only help ourselves in the ACC tourney.

on your other note, I definitely want a piece of Gtown. I feel the entire big east is overrated and gtown has been the most overrated team in the country all season long.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 11, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Yeah fushezzi, I wasnt willing to battle the king alone. Glad that is settled.

Not sure how we match up with gtown, but I could DEFINITELY see the committee pitting us against them. Good news is with the Cuse victory I think gtown is now at least a 4, so if we win tomorrow night we will probably each be a 4 and not seeded on top of one another

Posted by: jpfterps | March 11, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Glad I didn't vote for Wake Forest making a deep run. Two years in a row of late-season collapses.

As far as Georgetown is concerned, I want no part of them. They've got some bad losses, but when they're good, they're really good. Let them go beat up on Vanderbilt or BYU.

Posted by: PeteinAZ | March 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Im with AZPete, keep the Hoyas away from the Terps

Posted by: jpfterps | March 12, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

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