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The 2024 ACC Conference Tournament will be held at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., from March 12th through March 16th.
The Duke Blue Devils are the reigning ACC Tournament champions, running through Pittsburgh, Miami, and Virginia to win their 22nd tournament title.
North Carolina and Duke are the favorites to win the ACC regular season and ACC Tournament.
The favorites to win the 2024 ACC regular season are the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. These two teams are atop the conference standings and have established their dominance in a somewhat “down” conference this season.
However, plenty of other teams can string together a few wins once the ACC Tournament rolls around, including two other North Carolina teams: Wake Forest and N.C. State. Virginia and Clemson are also two talented teams that should make the NCAA Tournament field and could get hot at any moment!
Below are all the ACC championship favorites, including an in-depth analysis of their seasons and whether or not they can survive the ACC Tournament.
Find our 2024 ACC Tournament predictions below, including our favorite teams to take home the hardware: the Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels, Virginia Cavaliers, and Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
After winning the ACC Tournament championship by beating Pittsburgh, Miami, and Virginia last season, the Duke Blue Devils hope to secure back-to-back titles this season. And it certainly won’t be out of the realm of possibility given the team’s talent, which meshes together newcomers and returners.
In fact, Duke brought back its top four scorers from last season’s squad, including Jeremy Roach, Kyle Filipowski, Tyrese Proctor, and Mark Mitchell. The latter three players would have likely been selected in the 2023 NBA Draft had they declared last year; however, they decided to return for their sophomore seasons and give it one more run. That commitment to the program and one another is both impressive and a vital key to making a deep run in the conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to their top four players returning, Duke also brought in several talented freshmen, including Jared McCain, Caleb Foster, Sean Stewart, and T.J. Power. McCain and Foster have been more impactful in their freshmen seasons, but Duke is still a deep team with a ton of talent. McCain, in particular, has been phenomenal, averaging just shy of 13 points and five rebounds per game on very efficient shooting from the field and from behind the arc.
The Blue Devils have five players that average double-digit points per game, including McCain, Filipowski, Proctor, Roach, and Mitchell. Filipowski is the team’s leading scorer and can score at all three levels, a coveted skill at the collegiate and professional levels. At 7 feet, Filipowski can space and spread the floor and take slower opponents off the dribble or post up on smaller players and score in the post.
Unsurprisingly, this combination of elite offensive talents has resulted in the Blue Devils ranking in the top ten in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric for most of the 2023-24 campaign. Duke is not as effective of a team on the defensive end of the floor this season, but that could always change once the ACC Tournament rolls around. We have seen what this team can do when they are committed defensively, so between a more consistent effort on that end and their elite offensive attack, the Blue Devils can go back-to-back in the ACC Tournament.
It has been a roller coaster the past few seasons for the North Carolina Tar Heels. Once Roy Williams stepped down from his head coaching position at UNC in 2021, it would be up to Hubert Davis to keep this “Blue Blood” program in the country’s upper echelon of powerhouse programs. Davis’ first season (2021-22) started a bit shaky at times, but the Tar Heels made the 2022 NCAA Tournament as an eight-seed and rattled off five consecutive wins to make the National Championship game. Unfortunately, UNC blew a big halftime lead, and Kansas walked away with the title, but it was an exceptional run for a first-year head coach.
The following season, the Tar Heels brought back nearly every key player, save Brady Manek, and were ranked the No. 1 team in the preseason. However, the 2022-23 season was an absolute disaster for North Carolina, as it became the first team ever to be ranked as the top team in the preseason and miss the NCAA Tournament altogether. It seemed like the magic from the previous year was gone entirely. In the off-season, the Tar Heels’ leading scorer, Caleb Love, entered the transfer portal, leaving Armando Bacot and R.J. Davis as key upperclassmen returners.
The change in scenery benefitted not only Love but the Tar Heels, too, as they have ranked in the top ten for a large part of this season. North Carolina has a boatload of talent, including Bacot and Davis, as well as transfers Cormac Ryan, Harrison Ingram, and Jae’Lyn Withers. However, the Tar Heels’ bread and butter has been on the defensive end of the floor, ranking in the top ten in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Tar Heels have dominated the ACC through mid-February and will be a tough team to beat in the conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
The Virginia Cavaliers got off to a slow start to the 2023-24 regular season, dropping games to Memphis, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, N.C. State and Wake Forest before rattling off eight consecutive wins. Now, Virginia sits in the A.P. Poll’s Top 25 rankings once again and is one of the hottest teams in the country.
Virginia’s style of play is slow, as it ranks 362nd in adjusted tempo nationally. The Cavaliers rely on their exceptional defense (eighth in adjusted defensive efficiency) to compete with teams; their offense isn’t going to move the needle in most games, even with the talented trio of Ryan Dunn, Reece Beekman, and Isaac McKneely. In fact, this team ranks outside the top 100 in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom, giving them an uphill battle in competing against teams like UNC and Duke.
Still, Virginia has been freakishly good on its home floor, winning all 13 games at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers rank 13th in average scoring margin, 26th in three-point percentage, second in opponent points per game, second in unadjusted defensive efficiency, fifth in opponent effective field goal percentage, and 14th in opponent three-point percentage at home. It is not a mystery why this team has yet to lose a game in front of their fans.
Early-season road woes have subsided, too, as they have secured four consecutive wins (as of mid-February) away from home. Additionally, they recently held last year’s ACC regular season champions, Miami, to just 38 points in a game. Few teams can shut down opposing offenses as well as Virginia, giving it, at the minimum, an outside shot at making a deep run in the ACC Tournament, especially since it is towards the top of the conference standings right now.
Wake Forest is likely out of the running for the ACC regular season championship. However, it can still be a tough out in the ACC Tournament, given its balanced offensive attack, which features Hunter Sallis, Kevin Miller, Cameron Hildreth, Andrew Carr, Efton Reid III, and Damari Monsanto. Few teams in the country have as much scoring talent as the Demon Deacons, but they often live and die by the three-point shot quite a bit, contributing to some slower offensive nights. When they aren’t knocking down shots, they can be beaten by the top teams; however, when their perimeter shots are falling, which often happens (27th in 3P%, as of mid-February), they are extraordinarily tough to beat.
Sallis is Wake Forest’s star, posting just shy of 19 points per game on close to 50% shooting from the field and 40% from three-point land. The former Gonzaga player has found a home with the Demon Deacons, and it would not surprise us if he helped them make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, too. As mentioned above, though, what makes Wake Forest tough to beat is the ability for multiple players to step up and post some big numbers.
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