Syracuse, N.Y. — If Syracuse faces the worst seed in the ACC Tournament, the Orange probably won’t consider it much of a break.
After earning the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament, Syracuse (17-14, 10-10 ACC) will face the winner of a game between No. 11 Virginia Tech (16-15, 7-13) and No. 14 North Carolina (13-18, 6-14).
The Tar Heels finished in a three-way tie for last place in the league with Wake Forest and Pittsburgh but lost the tiebreaker because it went 1-3 against the pair. Virginia Tech finished in a three-way tie with Miami and Boston College for 10th and lost the tiebreaker because it went 0-4 against those two teams.
Despite being the worst seed, the Tar Heels are a potentially scary opponent. North Carolina has struggled with injuries all season but has put things together recently, winning three of four behind the talented inside-outside combination of Cole Anthony and Garrison Brooks.
The Tar Heels beat Syracuse 92-79 in the Carrier Dome less than two weeks ago, with Brooks scoring 26 points and securing 14 rebounds. While they have struggled to shoot the ball for most of the year, the return of Anthony from a knee injury has given the Tar Heels more balance.
Virginia Tech split games with Syracuse earlier this season, when the Hokies were in the midst of an impressive start. Picked in the preseason media poll to be the league’s worst team, Virginia Tech started hot but has suffered since.
The Hokies have lost 10 of their past 12 games, struggling because of a significant lack of size and relying heavily on 3-point shooting. Landers Nolley, who thrived earlier in the season, has scored 20 points combined in his last three games. Virginia Tech’s best player against Syracuse was freshman shooter Jalen Cone, who averaged 16.5 points in the pair.