ACC Tournament 2018: Quarterfinals Schedule, Live Stream, Bracket Predictions

Brian Marron@@brianmarron398Featured ColumnistMarch 8, 2018

Boston College's Jerome Robinson (1) runs up court as his teammates celebrate a 3-point basket by Robinson during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina Statein the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in New York. Boston College won 91-87. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Most of the big names will finally take the court for the quarterfinals Thursday at the 2018 ACC Tournament, but there have already been plenty of fireworks in Brooklyn.

A massive Notre Dame comeback and a surprise run from Boston College have been the highlights thus far from the event, setting up some phenomenal matchups. Six of the eight teams remaining were in the NCAA tournament a year ago, and all but the Eagles have spent time this season ranked in the AP Top 25 poll

Clear your schedule, because the action will be going on throughout the day. Here is how you can watch every game from the quarterfinal bracket, plus a brief breakdown and prediction for each contest.

            

ACC Tournament Quarterfinals Schedule

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Louisville

When: Thursday, March 8 at noon ET

Television: ESPN/ACC Network

No. 4 Clemson vs. No. 12 Boston College

When: Thursday, March 8 at 2 p.m. ET

Television: ESPN/ACC Network

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 10 Notre Dame

When: Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m. ET

Television: ESPN/ACC Network

No. 3 Miami vs. North Carolina

When: Thursday, March 8 at 9 p.m. ET

Television: ESPN/ACC Network

*All games available on WATCH ESPN for live stream

             

Virginia vs. Louisville

The Virginia Cavaliers operate with extreme efficiency and total discipline. This allowed them to lead the nation in scoring defense at 52.8 points conceded per night while also ranking No. 1 in turnovers per game at just under nine. Virginia will not beat itself.

On the contrary, Louisville has been inconsistent all season. 

The Cardinals exemplified that perfectly in their ridiculous loss to Virginia just a week ago where they blew a 13-point lead. Louisville also lost three straight this season, twice lost by over 25 points and even saw a 26-point lead shrink to single digits in its win Wednesday over Florida State. 

With high-end players like Deng Adel, Quentin Snider and Ray Spalding, the Cardinals have the talent to put up enough points to challenge a Virginia team that ranks 314th in scoring. However, it has been hard to trust this team to play a complete 40 minutes.

The Cavaliers are a much safer bet to grind out a win on Thursday in their signature style. It will be a close game, with Virginia having just one double-digit win since Feb. 1 over a team not named Pittsburgh. Yet, look for Virginia to make less mistakes and force enough bad shots from Louisville to move on to the semifinals for a chance to play in its third title game in the last five seasons. 

         

Clemson vs. Boston College

Boston College has been the tournament darling, having already won two games to move on through as the No. 12 seed. It may be a surprise given their seed, but the Eagles have shown flashes all year of being able to hang with the big boys.

The team notched impressive wins over ranked foes Duke and Miami while dropping single-digit contests with Clemson and Virginia. The issue was stringing together wins, as Boston College only won consecutive games once during regular-season conference play, with Pittsburgh being one of the victories. 

The three-headed monster of guards featuring Ky Bowman, Jordan Chatman and Jerome Robinson are as dynamic a bunch as you will find in the ACC, but depth is an issue. The Eagles rely heavily on their starting rotation, which ESPN Stats and Info documented:

Clemson plays stout enough defense to wear down Boston College, but the Tigers enter the tournament stumbling with losses in four of their last six games.

Can Clemson turn it around in time to advance? For now, look for the hot hand to prevail and for Boston College to be able to keep enough adrenaline alive to outscore the Tigers on Thursday. Momentum is on the Eagles' side, although fatigue may begin to settle in for the semifinals.

            

Duke vs. Notre Dame

An injury to preseason All-American Bonzie Colson was a catalyst for Notre Dame's fall from Top Five squad to bubble team, but the Fighting Irish are rolling now.

They were able to overturn a 21-point deficit to rally past Virginia Tech and set up a rematch of last season's conference title game with Duke. According to ESPN's Jeff Goodman, a win on Thursday could cement Notre Dame's chance to play for it all:

The Fighting Irish have the personnel with Colson and Matt Farrell leading the way to do so along with some extreme resiliency. But the Blue Devils are also a different team of late thanks to a healthy star.

Marvin Bagley is back after missing four straight games in February, and he is coming off a dominant 21-point, 15-rebound effort over a giant North Carolina team that leads the nation in rebounding. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, there is no player on the roster that can guard the gifted freshman.

That goes for pretty much the entire Duke lineup. Trevon Duval's quickness is too much for Notre Dame's guards, and the one-two punch of Bagley and Wendell Carter down low is a nightmare for the Fighting Irish. Colson should be able to get his offensively, but he is in no-man's land in terms of finding a favorable matchup on defense.

If Duke can avoid turnovers, it should be able to get past Notre Dame thanks to its pure athleticism. Expect the Fighting Irish to make it interesting, but they are just too overmatched by the Blue Devils' firepower.

            

Miami vs. North Carolina

A team like North Carolina as the No. 6 seed is a tough break for a higher seed. Just ask Miami after it watch the Tar Heels wipe the floor with Syracuse in a 78-59 win on Wednesday.

The Tar Heels are great at every position on the floor, starting with point guard Joel Berry II and wing Theo Pinson. Berry can get into the lane with ease and create for his teammates, while Pinson is a matchup nightmare for guards with his bulky 6'6" frame. Want to focus on guarding the perimeter? Then North Carolina will just play through Luke Maye, who is averaging a double-double with 17.7 points and 10.1 rebounds.

The Hurricanes were able to take down North Carolina 91-88 on Ja'Quan Newton's miracle heave about two weeks ago, and they could cause similar problems again with their smaller lineup. Miami utilizes primarily five guards in Bruce Brown, Anthony Lawrence II, Chris Lykes, Newton and Lonnie Walker IV while deploying leading scorer Dewan Huell inside. This created a run-and-gun type game that North Carolina is not suited to play.

Which Miami team will take the court is somewhat of a mystery. Since Jan. 31, the team won three straight, lost three straight and then won four in a row to close out the regular season. There is not a lot of middle ground with the Hurricanes, which is a bit concerning.

If Miami can shoot over 50 percent, it should have a good shot at walking away with a win. That is not a sure bet, though, and North Carolina's ability to generate second-chance points is a huge insurance policy. 

This is the biggest toss-up game of the night, but the Tar Heels' length and dependability give them a slight edge heading into Thursday.

          

Individual statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com. Team statistics are courtesy of NCAA.com. 

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