GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A quick look at today's quarterfinal games in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament:
At stake: The Cavaliers will try to keep the surprises coming after winning Thursday without suspended star Sylven Landesberg -- their first victory in this tournament since 2006. That’s much less likely this time around against a Duke team motivated to lock up a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament.
Who has the edge: Advantage Blue Devils, by a landslide. They won by 18 in Charlottesville last month and are simply the much better team.
Stat to watch: Duke leads the league in 3-point field goals made per game (7.8), and 3-point percentage defense (27.2 percent). The Blue Devils have made 126 more 3s than their opponents. If they get hot from the outside they’ll bury the Cavs, who will have to fight through a lot of screens to cover shooters.
Miami-Virginia Tech, 2 p.m.
At stake: Miami is hoping to sustain its momentum from Thursday, when it dismantled Wake Forest in a quarterfinal upset romp. Virginia Tech figures to be much more alert -- and even though the Hokies are probably in the NCAAs, a victory here would alleviate any nagging Selection Sunday anxiety.
Who has the edge: The teams split regular-season meetings, each winning at home. But those games were back in January, an eternity ago. The Hurricanes are once again trying to win without injured big man Dwayne Collins, which won’t be easy if the Hokies are more motivated than Wake Forest was.
Stat to watch: Can Reggie Johnson freak again for Miami? The 6-foot-10 freshman started in place of Collins and erupted for 22 points, making all eight of his shots and all six of his free throws against Wake Forest. He’s averaging all of 6.2 points per game. Johnson has home-state motivation; he’s from nearby Winston-Salem.
Georgia Tech-Maryland, 7 p.m.
At stake: Tech might have earned an NCAA spot by laboring past North Carolina Thursday night, but this would erase all doubt. The Yellow Jackets also have revenge on their minds after losing on a last-second shot by Cliff Tucker in College Park last month. Tech guard Glen Rice Jr. dubbed this rematch, “personal.” For the Terrapins, this is an opportunity to continue their roll and improve its NCAA seed -- and as favorites drop in tourneys like the Big East, there is room for some upward mobility.
Who has the edge: Maryland, but this is a tough matchup for the Terrapins. Vasquez struggled in the first meeting against Tech’s athletic guards, making just five of 16 shots. If Tech freshman Derrick Favors plays like he did against Carolina (18 points, nine rebounds, five blocks) this could be an upset.
Stat to watch: Maryland leads the league in field-goal percentage at 47.5 percent. Tech is second in field-goal percentage defense at 38.2 percent. If the Terps shoot 45 percent of better, they should win. Anything less than that and it could be a tossup.
North Carolina State-Florida State, 9 p.m.
At stake: North Carolina State is hoping to turn a one-game upset into a legitimate run -- and, potentially, hoping to extend Sidney Lowe’s tenure as coach. Fans who had been grumbling about Lowe filled the Marriott lobby to cheer for him and his players when they returned after the Thursday night upset of Clemson. The Seminoles, meanwhile, are playing to improve their seeding and hoping to rekindle last year’s run to the tourney final.
Who has the edge: This has the feel of an NC State upset. The Wolfpack won in Tallahassee during the regular season. The problem is that State’s No. 1 offensive weapon, widebody center Tracy Smith, is undersized against 7-foot-1 shot-blocker Solomon Alabi. The Wolfpack will have to find some other scoring options.
Stat to watch: The Seminoles are the toughest team to score against in the league, surrendering just 60.2 points and a league-low 37.2 percent shooting accuracy. Does that defense suffocate NC State shooters, or do they find some open shots and knock them down?