ACC Men's Tournament bracket if the season ended today, Jan. 24

North Carolina has overcome last year's struggles to rocket to the top of the ACC
North Carolina has overcome last year's struggles to rocket to the top of the ACC / Ryan Hunt/GettyImages
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With the NFL season nearing its end, many sports fans will soon be turning their attention to college basketball. We are nearing the halfway point of the ACC schedule, which makes it a great time to check in on the conference standings and project what the ACC Tournament will look like. March may seem far away, but the reality is that many teams make or break their seasons in conference play.

There are 15 teams in the ACC, and unlike some conferences that don't invite everyone to participate in their season-ending tournament, the ACC is an all-inclusive affair, which means that yes, Louisville, even you will get a chance to roll off five wins in five days when the ACC Tournament kicks off in Washington, D.C. on March 12th.

A lot will change between now and March, as most teams have only played eight of their 20 conference games. Joe Lunardi's most recent Bracketology has only three ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament field, but several others can work their way into contention before the season is done, and of course, the winner of the ACC Tournament gets an automatic bid to the Big Dance. Let's take a look at what the ACC Tournament bracket would look like if the season ended today.

ACC Tournament Bracket: First-round matchups

(12) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. (13) Boston College Eagles

New head coach Micah Shrewsberry has had his work cut out for him since leaving Penn State to take over a Fighting Irish team that was depleted by transfer losses following the retirement of longtime head coach Mike Brey. The Irish lost both Cormac Ryan (UNC) and J.J. Starling (Syracuse) to in-conference rivals, and while their 2-5 league record is nothing to write home about, Shrewsberry has kept the team competitive thanks to a strong defensive identity (45th in the country according to KenPom).

Boston College's 2-6 conference record belies the fact that the Eagles have been a tough out for some of the ACC's top teams. Quentin Post has played at an All-ACC level, and B.C. has hung with Carolina, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. Boston College has already beaten Notre Dame once this year, and will get the chance to sweep the season series when the two teams meet again on Saturday.

(10) Clemson Tigers vs. (15) Louisville Cardinals

Believe it or not, despite sitting 10th in the ACC standings, Clemson is projected to make the NCAA Tournament. As is often the case with the Tigers, though, a strong start out of conference has given way to struggles within the league. Clemson boasts strong wins against Alabama, South Carolina, and TCU, but a recent home loss to Georgia Tech is the kind of thing Brad Brownell can ill afford if he wants to reach the school's first NCAA Tournament since 2021. PJ Hall is on track to be a First Team All-ACC member, and Joe Girard has been one of the most impactful transfers in the country after trading the orange of Syracuse for Clemson's slightly different shade.

I was always taught that if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. With that in mind, here's my best effort. Louisville is undoubtedly better than they were last year, a 4-28 campaign that made them one of the worst major conference teams of all time (oops, I knew I couldn't do it). The Cardinals already have six wins on the year, and though they're just 1-7 in ACC play, that win was one of the most shocking results of the season thus far, an 80-71 win at reigning conference champ Miami.

(11) Pittsburgh Panthers vs. (14) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

After rolling off two wins in last year's NCAA Tournament, the Panthers have come back down to earth. A rough start to conference play, with a 1-5 record whose only bright spot was a win over Louisville, makes it unlikely Pitt will return to the Dance, but things are looking up recently. The Panthers scored their second and third road conference wins of the season by beating Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium and Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion, which sets up the possibility of a late-season run by Jeff Capel's crew.

Georgia Tech is only 9-10 overall, and 2-6 in the ACC, but they've been feisty all year. The Yellow Jackets have wins over Mississippi State, Duke, and at Clemson on their resume, but they've lost seven of eight (though all but one of those losses came by single digits) to sink toward the bottom of the ACC. Florida transfer Kowacie Reeves has been the Jacket's most efficient player, but his 40% shooting from outside has been nullified by the rest of the team, especially the high volume of Miles Kelly, who shoots only 27.8% from three despite taking by far the most shots on the team.