By JOHN BOSCHINI
As the ACC Tournament gets into full swing tonight at campus sites up and down the East Coast, all signs point to a rematch of last year's final between top-seeded North Carolina and No. 2 Maryland.
That's not to say other schools won't make a push as they look to secure postseason berths. No. 6 Clemson shocked Maryland earlier in the year but losses against UAB and Elon puts the Tigers in the position of needing a win over No. 3 Duke to feel safe. It's a victory that might have seemed likely earlier in the season, but the Blue Devils are peaking at just the right time, going unbeaten in their past four games.
Boston College is in the top 10 in the latest NCAA RPI, but an inconsistent record in conference play gives the Eagles the seventh seed and a quarterfinal matchup with Maryland. The Terrapins were in complete control when the two teams met earlier in the season with a 4-0 rout but finished the season winless in the final three games. Even more worrying is the fact goalkeeper Will Swaim hasn't kept a clean sheet since Oct. 11.
North Carolina seems to have a much easier road to Sunday's championship game. The Tar Heels kick off their quest against North Carolina State, which squeaked into the quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over Virginia Tech in Monday night's play-in game. Should North Carolina take care of business against the Wolfpack, a date with No. 4 Virginia or No. 5 Wake Forest awaits, and neither team managed a goal against North Carolina this season.
Here is a look at the full ACC tournament schedule:
No. 8 N.C. State 1, No. 9 Virginia Tech 0
No. 8 N.C. State at No. 1 North Carolina, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Wake Forest at No. 4 Virginia, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Boston College at No. 2 Maryland, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Clemson at No. 3 Duke, 7 p.m.
Semifinal 2: 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Championship: 12 p.m. (ESPNU)
What do you think of the ACC Tournament? Can anyone challenge North Carolina or Maryland? Is there a Cinderella story in the cards? Who do you see advancing to Cary?
Share your thoughts below.