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First Round ACC Predictions!

In the ACC's first-round  matchups, here's our take:UNC vs. Eastern Kentucky: The only absolute lock in the first round for the ACC.  On the other hand, there are a few things which could go against UNC: 1) Ol' Roy has a history of early round trouble; 2) UNC runs into trouble in close games and sometimes panics when they can't run a team out of the gym, and  3) Hansbrough's injury.  Is it enough? Not likely.  Every reserve UNC has would probably be the MVP for EKU.  We're big believers in what five guys united can do (okay, eight, but you get the point).  We'd be stunned if they pulled it off.  Of course, we wouldn't be the only ones.

Virginia vs. Albany:  Last year, Albany showed enormous guts vs. UConn, but as we told you from day one of the tournament, UConn was going down - it was just a question of who was going to take them out.  We never bought the inevitable tag they had.

That Albany is back again is by itself impressive.  It's not that easy to thread a needle when you're in a smaller conference and there's only one bid to be had. Albany is well-coached and very smart.  But if UVa is complacent after last year's performance by Albany, they deserve to lose.  We just can't see it.

Maryland vs. Davidson:  This one has upset potential written all over it. We'll probably regret it, but McKillop is a better tactician that Gary Williams, and his team has a lot of poise.  Look for them to zone Maryland and to slow the game down.  We're not big fans of Maryland in a taut half-court game. Davidson has proven themselves capable over the last few years.

Georgia Tech vs. UNLV: similar prognosis.  Lon Kruger is a smart coach.  Tech is capable of near-greatness or immense idiocy.  Tough call, but we'll take Tech.  They've had a week to work on it, right? Right?

B.C. vs. Texas Tech: fascinating game, really. In Al Featherston's latest column, he quotes Al Skinner as saying “Let’s understand something. Once we get out of this freakin’ ACC, we’re going to do okay.”  Texas Tech was probably not his dream opponent.  Bob Knight is legendary for his ability to prepare for an opponent, and with most of a week to get ready, he'll have his guys ready to go after Jared Dudley, Tyrese Rice, and Sean Marshall.  He's not happy that his team has been  inconsistent, but B.C. comes in on a significant slide.  However, as usual, the Eagles are still tough to beat.  This one is really tough to call.  We'll have to take B.C's guttiness though.

Duke vs. VCU: Marquette will be the template VCU will look at.  But if Duke has worked out their kinks this week, and can hold on to the ball and defend VCU's perimeter game they'll probably control the game.  It's not a vintage team, but Mike Krzyzewski is all about March, and even when his team hasn't played well, they're still competing.  We'll take Duke.

Virginia Tech vs. Illinois: This is a very tough one as well.  On the one hand, we have a lot of respect for Bruce Weber, who is a very solid coach.  But his team hasn't handled tough opponents that well this season.  And on the other, Virginia Tech has shown an ability to come out at times and just be thoroughly mediocre.

But they have senior guards and nice athleticism.  This is a program-defining game for Tech in many ways.  It's too important for them to flake out.