GREENSBORO, N.C. – Here are five things to look for during Thursday’s four ACC tournament quarterfinal matchups.
1. No fans allowed: The ACC tournament followed the lead of the NCAA and won’t allow fans to attend the remainder of the event. The conference released a statement Wednesday evening that following the conclusion of the second round "only essential tournament personnel, limited school administrators and student-athlete guests, broadcast television and credentialed media members" would be allowed to be present for games.
2. Same old situation: Duke makes this year’s ACC tournament debut as a rare fourth seed and opens against N.C. State. The Blue Devils have owned the series 12-5 over the past 10 seasons including winning all three conference tournament matchups with the last being 92-89 in 2016. The two schools split a pair of games this season and haven’t met in Greensboro since Duke’s 24-point win in the 2015 ACC tournament. Duke boasts the league’s top scoring (82.5 points per game) and shooting (47 percent) offense.
3. Wild Cards: Despite joining the ACC for the 2014-15 season just two years removed from winning the national championship, Louisville has struggled in the conference tournament in its four appearances, going a combined 2-4. The Cardinals were banned from postseason play in 2016. Louisville began this season 21-3, spending multiple weeks atop both polls, but is only 3-4 over its past seven games. The Cardinals play Syracuse in the last game of the night.
4. Giant slayer: Clemson has been among the nation’s most inconsistent teams all season with a penchant for mixing unexpected wins with awful losses. Despite being undersized, the Tigers play outstanding defense and when they can knock down shots can be a handful to deal with. Next up is top-seed Florida State who Clemson upset three games ago for three wins over top-six teams (previously beating Duke and Louisville) in the same year for the first time in 40 years.
5. Viable champions: Defending national champion and 2018 ACC tournament winning Virginia appeared to have gone off the rails losing three straight and three of four in January to fall to 12-6. Now having earned the second seed, the Cavaliers play No. 7 Notre Dame on an eight-game win streak that started with a 50-49 overtime win over the Irish. Using its regular defensive-minded formula, Virginia only reached 60 points twice during that successful stretch and will continue to try and smother opponents.