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ACC Tournament Preview

ACC tournament odds have been posted for days and the action finally tips off at the Greensboro Coliseum on Thursday afternoon.

An up-and-down and sometimes confusing conference schedule has shaken out the league's 12 teams, giving bettors the pecking order for this week's tournament. Meanwhile, defending champion UNC looms as a threat despite its poor season.

Duke surprised no one by topping the ACC and earning the tournament's No. 1 seed. Following the Blue Devils with first-round byes are the red-hot Maryland Terrapins, the Virginia Tech Hokies, and the Florida State Seminoles.

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However, with the amount of parity in the conference, any one of the programs escaping the first round could knock off one of these high seeds.

The elephant in the ACC room is North Carolina, which opens play against Georgia Tech (-3.5 spread at Bovada) on Thursday. The Tar Heels have fallen short of expectations all season but can erase those losses with a run through the conference tournament. North Carolina will have to do it without sophomore forward Ed Davis, who is out with a broken wrist.

Another ACC program that could shake up brackets is Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons (-4.5) drew the fifth seed in the tournament and clash with Miami in the first round. Wake Forest has two of the top talents in the conference leading the way in Al-Farouq Aminu and Ishmael Smith.

Trevor Booker has been in the middle of a few ACC tournament battles and would love nothing more than to cap his career with a conference crown. Clemson's burly forward takes on North Carolina State (+7) in the tournament opener. Booker scored 20 points in a 73-70 win over the Wolfpack back in mid-January.

Thursday's early contest has the Virginia Cavaliers (+4.5) squaring off with the Boston College Eagles. The Cavs are without leading scorer Sylven Landesberg, who was suspended due to academics. Coach Tony Bennett will rely heavily on forward Mike Scott, who has been missing in action the past four weeks.

Scott, who is the only other Virginia player averaging double figures, has put up under four points per game in his last four outings.

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