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Today's ACC tournament games

3/11/2010

Previewing today’s games in the ACC:

Boston College-Virginia, noon

At stake: Both teams are hoping this is the beginning of a stunning run of four victories in four days. Not likely for either, but you have to start somewhere.

Who has the edge: The Eagles. Virginia has lost nine straight and suspended its leading scorer, Sylven Landesberg, for academic shortcomings. BC won by 13 when the two met in Chestnut Hill on March 3.

Stat to watch: Virginia has attempted the fewest free throws of anyone in the ACC, just 485. Next fewest is Boston College at 537, a full 80 fewer attempts than 10th-place Miami. Can either struggling offensive team find the easiest way to score by getting to the foul line?

Miami-Wake Forest, 2 p.m.

At stake: Miami is hoping for a miracle. The Demon Deacons are playing for NCAA seeding and would like to win their first postseason game since 2008.

Who has the edge: Wake, but not as big an edge as you might think. They’re played poorly down the stretch, losing four of their past five, and the teams split their two regular-season meetings.

Stat to watch: Wake Forest leads the nation in effective field-goal percentage defense, according to Ken Pomeroy’s statistics. Miami, meanwhile, is a pretty good shooting team at 46.2 percent, second-best in the league. Which strength wins the day?

Georgia Tech-North Carolina, 7 p.m.

At stake: Tech needs to win this game and perhaps another to feel secure about an NCAA tournament bid – and coach Paul Hewitt needs an NCAA tournament bid to feel secure about keeping his job. The Tar Heels are simply trying to pick their teeth up off the ground and salvage something from a disastrous season.

Who has the edge: Georgia Tech swept the season series, winning close in Chapel Hill and by 17 in Atlanta. And the Yellow Jackets are closer to playing for something than the Heels.

Stat to watch: Which team takes care of the ball? Both have committed more turnovers than they’ve forced – Carolina is last in the 12-team ACC in turnover margin in league games, and Georgia Tech is tied for eighth.

North Carolina State-Clemson, 9 p.m.

At stake: North Carolina State is hoping to start a run – and, potentially, hoping to extend Sidney Lowe’s tenure as coach. The Tigers are trying to improve their NCAA seeding.

Who has the edge: Clemson. It won the only meeting between the two this season by three points in Raleigh. But NC State has won three of its past four coming into this game.

Stat to watch: NC State is shooting just 44 percent on the season – and that drops to 40 percent in league games, last in the ACC. But the Wolfpack shot 50 percent or better in their past two victories. If Clemson keeps the Pack closer to 40 percent accuracy than 50 percent, it should win.