The Miami Hurricanes blew a shot at a share of an ACC regular season crown, falling at Virginia Tech on Saturday—but redemption could be just around the corner as the conference tournament gets underway this week in Washington D.C., with the third-seeded Canes earning a first and second round bye.
Miami’s path to Saturday’s championship game means back-to-back wins on Thursday and Friday are in order.
No. 11 Florida State and No. 14 Boston College go toe-to-toe on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to a Wednesday night showdown against No. 6 Virginia Tech. With the Eagles winless in conference this year, odds are pointing towards a Seminoles / Hokies match-up, with the winner battling the Canes on Thursday.
Should Miami top Florida State or Virginia Tech, it will face the winner of No. 2 Virginia and either No. 7 Clemson and No. 10 Georgia Tech, who face off Wednesday night, both the Tigers and Yellow Jackets hoping to advance for a showdown against the Cavaliers.
North Carolina earned the top seed in the opposing bracket; earning a first- and second-round bye before taking on the winner of No. 8 Pittsburgh and No. 9 Syracuse—where a win will pit the Tar Heels against the winner of the No. 4 Notre Dame bracket in the semifinals.
No. 5 Duke takes on the winner of No. 12 North Carolina State and No. 13 Wake Forest—the victor there gearing up for the Fighting Irisn in the quarterfinals.
Upsets aside, Miami’s paths to the title game most-likely means the Canes will have to knock off Virginia Tech, Virginia and North Carolina—though Clemson could certainly top Georgia Tech and certainly give Virginia a run in the quarterfinals.
In the other bracket, North Carolina should knock off either Pittsburgh or Syracuse with ease, though the Notre Dame or Duke winner could give the Tar Heels a run for their money.
While the Canes are certainly playing for an ACC Championship, the ultimate goal is doing enough in D.C. to build its case and solidify it’s place in the NCAA Tournament. Winning one is a must if Miami wants to lock down a three-seed, while a second win and title-game berth could guarantee the Canes a two-seed.
Win the tourney by knocking off the Hokies, Cavaliers and Tar Heels and a top-seed might even be in the cards, based on how other conference throw-downs play out across the nation this week.
#1 North Carolina
#4 Notre Dame
#6 Virginia Tech
#10 Georgia Tech
#11 Florida State
#12 North Carolina State
#13 Wake Forest
#14 Boston College