College Basketball Sports

Derrek’s Official ACC Tourney Picks, 2020

Who is Derrek? Why is he making ACCT predictions (2-0 so far)? More importantly, will he have the good sense to pick your favorite team (aka ‘the correct team’)?

It’s that time of year where we print brackets, scribble in picks, recycle paper, print more brackets (b/c we couldn’t scribble our way out of a wet paper bag, yada yada…).

With that mind…

I’m pleased to present my 2020 New York Life ACC Tournament predictions from start to finish.

Folks, you can take these picks to your local bookie with confidence. I promise!!

Me, with my fingers crossed…

Please remember that Georgia Tech is not participating in the 2020 postseason (NCAA-related matters) – in the event you’ve been preoccupied with COVID-19, Super Tuesday results or other non-sporting matters.

For the most part, I’m not offering player analysis or stats when presenting the predictions. Just hunches.

With that, it’s time to make that papah, honey…


#13 Pitt over #12 Wake Forest

There’s nothing like “job buyout” rumors (see Danny Manning) to mess with the mood in a locker room.

Pitt, on the other hand, is building for the future and I believe they will make a strong showing for at least one game. HC Jeff Capel wouldn’t have it any other way.

#14 North Carolina over #11 Virginia Tech

OK kid (C. Anthony), your Tar Heels aren’t THAT good (as in one of the 10 best teams). However, the Heels will benefit from being the underdog, and will have the adoration of the Greensboro crowd for as long as they’re still playing.


#9 Miami over #8 Clemson

I watched the Canes on Saturday night make key shot after shot, and FT after FT in their impressive win over Syracuse. This is the kind of team that’s peaking (under-the-radar) at the right time.

Clemson? Well, at least they can play without “NCAA Tourney Bubble” pressure now, as it burst with Saturday’s home loss to GT.

#5 NC State over #13 Pitt

The Wolfpack avoided a potential matchup with North Carolina (thanks to Miami’s win over Syracuse). Instead they’ll likely face Pitt, a team they defeated two weekends ago with a gutsy come-form-behind effort.

What I’m saying is this: NC State knows how to defeat Pitt when the pressure of the “NCAA Bubble” is on.

#10 Boston College over #7 Notre Dame

Just a hunch. Neither team is coming to Greensboro on a high note, but…

Just a hunch that Boston College is looking forward to playing Virginia again (the Eagles beat UVA earlier in the season).

#14 North Carolina over #6 Syracuse


  • Did you see the way Carolina handled Syracuse a couple of weeks ago? And,
  • Ol’ Boeheim is about as excited playing in the city of Greensboro as I am about “daylight savings time”.


#1 FSU over #9 Miami

If there’s one team I feel could derail FSU’s run to Saturday night, it’s Miami (familiarity and all).


Fatigue starts to set in right around halftime for the teams who had to play on Tuesday Wednesday (see note).

Editor’s note: Miami only has to play one game (on Wednesday). While the author stands by his pick, he understands his analysis is slightly off. Our site apologies for any potential inconveniences.

This time of year, it’s as much attrition as it is competition and teams with long benches (FSU) are best suited here.

Dare I… Seriously, dare I….?


#5 NC State over #4 Duke

“Team with more to play for (and motivation)” over “Team who basically knows its NCAA seed and status.”

That’s not to say “Team with more to play for” isn’t going to make it easy on its rooting fan base.

Besides, I believe Kevin Keatts will have a plan for any zone defense Duke decides to use this time. Hopefully, his players will make shots.

Seriously dude.. are you really considering another upset…?

#2 Virginia over #10 Boston College

Yes, I was considering it, however…

If Virginia can drag a semi-surging Miami squad into a 46-44 mud fight in Coral Gables, they’ll do the same thing to Boston College in Greensboro.

And we’ll all be upset at the pace of play, while HC Tony Bennett looks all innocent on the sidelines.

Hey, as long as my team has one more point than my opponent when the clock reads 0:00, so be it, ok?

Devil’s advocate on Tony Bennett’s left shoulder
#2 Louisville over #14 North Carolina

It’s been a fun ride with the Tar Heels to this point, giving all its fans (my eldest included) that Cole & Garrison can win 5 straight.

However, they don’t have the horses to run with the Cardinals this season.

It’ll be a closer game with Garrison Brooks playing this time, however.


#1 FSU over #5 NC State

For the NC State fans reading this, wondering what’ll take for the Wolfpack to reach the ‘next level’ — look at FSU’s roster.

Height in the middle, width on the wings (as in players with long wingspans), and tough & physical all the way around.

That’s what shook NC State in the 2nd half of the first meeting (3 weeks ago), and will be the same here.

#2 Virginia over #3 Louisville

If there is one thing Virginia does better than anyone, especially in the postseason, it’s slowing the pace down.

There’s just something about that #0 kid and Jay Huff controlling the pace of the game, with senior leadership (Diakite) hitting clutch shot after clutch shot – while locking down defensively.


#2 Virginia over #1 FSU

There’s just something about that #0 kid and Jay Huff controlling the pace of the game, with senior leadership (Diakite) hitting clutch shot after clutch shot – while locking down defensively.

Me, a paragraph ago…

I really can’t believe I got all the way down here and picked Virginia to win the 2020 New York Life ACC Championship.

That said, I always go with my first inclination, and I can’t help but recognize a team that is really starting to peak (peaking ugly, yes, but still peaking) at the right time.