ACC Tournament 2023: Bracket, schedule and history
ACC Tournament bracket
All 15 ACC teams will participate in the single-elimination tournament. The teams will be seeded according to their record within conference play during the 2022-23 season, with a tiebreaker system to seed teams with the same records.
The 6 lowest-seeded teams will play on the first day of the tournament, with the 3 winners on Day 1 playing seeds Nos. 5, 6 and 7 on Day 2 as well as the No. 8 and 9 seeds playing each other on Day 2. The tournament’s 4 highest-seeded teams will have a “double-bye” into the quarterfinals, which will take place on Day 3 of the tournament.
ACC Tournament schedule
All times are ET.
Tuesday, March 7
2 p.m. – No. 12 Florida State vs. No. 13 Georgia Tech (ACC Network)
4:30 p.m. – No. 10 Boston College vs. No. 15 Louisville (ACC Network)
7 p.m. – No. 11 Virginia Tech vs. No. 14 Notre Dame (ACC Network)
Wednesday, March 8
Noon – No. 8 Syracuse vs. No. 9 Wake Forest (ESPN)
2:30 p.m. – No. 5 Pitt vs. Florida State-Georgia Tech winner (ESPN)
7 p.m. – No. 7 North Carolina vs. Boston College-Louisville winner (ESPN2/ESPNU)
9:30 p.m. – No. 6 NC State vs. Virginia Tech-Notre Dame winner (ESPN2/ESPNU)
Thursday, March 9
Noon – No. 1 Miami vs. Wednesday Noon winner (ESPN/ESPN2)
2:30 p.m. – No. 4 Duke vs. Wednesday 2:30 p.m. winner (ESPN/ESPN2)
7 p.m. – No. 2 Virginia vs. Wednesday 7 p.m. winner (ESPN/ESPN2)
9:30 p.m. – No. 3 Clemson vs. Wednesday 9:30 p.m. winner (ESPN/ESPN2)
Friday, March 10
7 p.m. – Thursday afternoon winners (ESPN/ESPN2)
9:30 p.m. – Thursday evening winners (ESPN/ESPN2)
Saturday, March 11
8:30 p.m. – Semifinal winners (ESPN)
ACC Tournament history
But before the Big Dance, at a destination to be determined that particular year, we get treated to a tradition that has delighted ACC basketball fans since 1954.
We get the ACC Tournament, with all of its wonderful drama. We get those random, delicious matchups, depending on the seeding that particular season. We get the showdown of traditional rivals, if we’re lucky that particular season.
And, of course, we get The Moments. No matter what, no matter the year, we always get the special moments that make the ACC Tournament so special.
Then, for the most fortunate, for the team that survives, there is the trophy that calls them Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament champion.
And no matter what comes afterward for that team in the NCAA Tournament that year, being ACC Tournament champion means the world, because they’re the last team standing in what is perennially the nation’s best basketball conference.
The ACC men’s basketball tournament has been staged every year since the conference’s first basketball season concluded in 1954, with the exception of the 2020 tournament, which had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament is single elimination, and the seeding is based on regular-season conference records. The winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, which is declared the conference champion, receives the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Duke has won the most ACC tournaments, being crowned champion 21 times. Rival North Carolina is 2nd with 18 ACC tournament titles, followed by NC State with 10 championships. Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are tied for 4th, with each having captured 4 tournament titles. Virginia and Maryland, which is now a member of the Big Ten Conference, have each won the tournament 3 times.
Previous ACC Tournament champions
1954 — NC State
1955 — NC State
1956 — NC State
1957 — North Carolina
1958 — Maryland
1959 — NC State
1960 — Duke
1961 — Wake Forest
1962 — Wake Forest
1963 — Duke
1964 — Duke
1965 — NC State
1966 — Duke
1967 — North Carolina
1968 — North Carolina
1969 — North Carolina
1970 — NC State
1971 — South Carolina
1972 — North Carolina
1973 — NC State
1974 — NC State
1975 — North Carolina
1976 — Virginia
1977 — North Carolina
1978 — Duke
1979 — North Carolina
1980 — Duke
1981 — North Carolina
1982 — North Carolina
1983 — NC State
1984 — Maryland
1985 — Georgia Tech
1986 — Duke
1987 — NC State
1988 — Duke
1989 — North Carolina
1990 — Georgia Tech
1991 — North Carolina
1992 — Duke
1993 — Georgia Tech
1994 — North Carolina
1995 — Wake Forest
1996 — Wake Forest
1997 — North Carolina
1998 — North Carolina
1999 — Duke
2000 — Duke
2001 — Duke
2002 — Duke
2003 — Duke
2004 — Maryland
2005 — Duke
2006 — Duke
2007 — North Carolina
2008 — North Carolina
2009 — Duke
2010 — Duke
2011 — Duke
2012 — Florida State
2013 — Miami
2014 — Virginia
2015 — Notre Dame
2016 — North Carolina
2017 — Duke
2018 — Virginia
2019 — Duke
2020 — Tournament not completed because of COVID-19 pandemic; Florida State declared champions
2021 — Georgia Tech
2022 — Virginia Tech
Top 10 moments in ACC Tournament history
All 10 of these were special moments in the history of a tradition-rich tournament, so they could really go in any order you want, especially considering what program you are a fan of. But for the sake of having an order, we’ll rank them this way:
1. The Cardiac Pack
Duke and North Carolina have owned the ACC Tournament the way they’ve owned the ACC in the regular season. But the top spot on this list goes to that school down the street from Durham and Chapel Hill, the one that has a rivalry with the Blue Devils and Tar Heels.
Yep, it’s NC State and its iconic 1983 Wolfpack, which limped into the event needing to win the ACC Tournament to guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament. A few weeks before Jim Valvano’s never-say-die team really made history by stunning Houston to capture the national championship, it paved the way for that moment by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship in equally unlikely fashion at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta.
The underdog Wolfpack roared back to beat Michael Jordan’s star-studded North Carolina team in overtime in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Then NC State toppled Virginia and all-everything center Ralph Sampson in the final, prevailing 81-78 behind tournament MVP Sidney Lowe.
2. David Thompson and the dominant Pack
Nine years before NC State won the national title as the ultimate Cinderella story, the Wolfpack did the trick with a loaded roster led by high-flyer David Thompson, Tommy Burleson and Monte Towe. But before NC State could end UCLA’s dynasty in the Final Four and beat Marquette to win the conference’s first national championship since 1957, it had to get past the Len Elmore-led Maryland team in the 1974 ACC Tournament title game in Greensboro.
Important to remember: Only the ACC men’s basketball tournament champion went to the NCAA Tournament, then a 25-team event.
The Wolfpack were the top-ranked team in the country, but the Terrapins were No. 3. Only one could move on.
Maryland coach Lefty Driesell played his starters all 40 minutes in the Terps’ rout of North Carolina in the semifinals. But in the iconic championship game, Thompson, widely considered the greatest player in ACC history, was too much for Maryland. The Wolfpack outlasted the Terps in an overtime classic, 103-100, with Burleson being named tournament MVP. The next year, largely because of this epic ACC Tournament final, the NCAA Tournament expanded to 32 teams and began to award at-large bids.
3. The Randolph Childress Invitational
Wake Forest has only won the ACC basketball tournament 4 times, and not since 1996, when they repeated as champions. But it was the first of those back-to-back ACC crowns in 1995 that will likely always be treasured most in Winston-Salem — and remembered not as fondly in Durham, Charlottesville and Chapel Hill.
In a word, Childress, Wake’s electric point guard, was unstoppable. He powered the top-seeded Demon Deacons to the ACC championship with a 3-day outburst that will never be forgotten and might never be topped. Childress scored 107 points combined in a quarterfinal blowout of Duke, a semifinal triumph over Virginia and a classic overtime victory over North Carolina in the final.
Childress wowed the crowds at Greensboro Coliseum on his way to easily capturing ACC Tournament MVP honors.He fittingly provided the final stroke of the tournament, drilling a 10-footer with 4.6 seconds left in overtime to lift the Demon Deacons to an 82-80 victory over the Tar Heels. Childress finished with a game-high 37 points against UNC, helping him break the ACC Tournament scoring record held by North Carolina’s Lennie Rosenbluth from the 1957 tourney.
4. Psycho T lifts the Tar Heels
It was only the semifinals, but it was Tyler Hansbrough playing for a top-seeded and top-ranked North Carolina team in 2008. So Hansbrough’s baseline shot with 0.8 seconds left that lifted UNC past Virginia Tech, 68-66, was worth a little bit more than just your typical game-winner to clinch a berth in the championship game.
First, the junior Hansbrough was the ACC Player of the Year that season and was in the middle of a legendary career. Second, he would finish the tournament in style the following day in Charlotte, leading North Carolina to an 86-81 victory over Clemson and being named ACC Tournament MVP. And third, well, do you remember Hansbrough’s insanely jubilant celebration after he made the shot against the Hokies, the one that was very worthy of his “Psycho T” nickname?
We guarantee the UNC basketball faithful who are old enough surely remember, and the ones who remember definitely won’t forget. It was one of the many signature moments in North Carolina basketball history, not quite up there with Michael Jordan’s jumper against Georgetown in 1982 or Caleb Love’s 3-pointer to finish Duke in the 2022 Final Four, but definitely a moment authored by a Tar Heels great who would lead UNC to a national championship the following season.
5. Duke’s real arrival in 1988
The Blue Devils have won 21 ACC basketball tournaments, so a few might get lost in the shuffle. But not Duke’s run to the championship in 1988 at Greensboro Coliseum. Not when rivals North Carolina and NC State were the No. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, and not when the Blue Devils had to get through both to win the title.
After beating Virginia in the quarterfinals, 3rd-seeded Duke took down the Wolfpack, 73-71, in the semifinals to set up a showdown of showdowns against its most bitter rival of all. This was a Tar Heels team that included the likes of JR Reid and Jeff Lebo. But this was a Blue Devils team led by ACC Player of the Year Danny Ferry, and a Duke team that had beaten North Carolina twice during the regular season.
Make that 3 times. The Blue Devils prevailed, 65-61, in a seesaw affair to earn that rarest and most difficult of feats — a 3-game season sweep of the Tar Heels. Duke fans — and annoyed North Carolina fans alike — might also remember Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski’s jubilant celebration at game’s end. Ferry added another award to his collection by winning ACC Tournament MVP.
6. Cinderella Yellow Jackets
North Carolina won the 1993 ACC regular-season championship and was the subsequent top seed at the ACC tourny. The Tar Heels were also the top-ranked team in the country at the time. And a not-so spoiler alert — they went on to win the national championship a few weeks after the ACC extravaganza in Charlotte.
But before North Carolina won it all, it was given a little slice of humble pie, courtesy of 6th-seeded Georgia Tech, which toppled the Tar Heels, 77-75, in the ACC Tournament title game. This loaded UNC squad with Eric Montross, George Lynch, Donald Williams and Derrick Phelps couldn’t slow down the Cinderella Yellow Jackets, who also upset 3rd-seeded Duke in the quarterfinals.
Those scrappy Yellow Jackets were powered by ACC Tournament MVP James Forrest, as well as Travis Best and Drew Barry. And after losing twice by double digits to UNC during the regular season, the third time was indeed the charm in the Queen City. Georgia Tech tied the record for the lowest-seeded team to win the ACC Tournament.
7. The Pack pull off another miracle
NC State didn’t go on to win the national championship in 1987 like it did 4 years earlier, but the ’87 Wolfpack did weave the same ACC Tournament magic in Landover, Maryland.
North Carolina was No. 2 in the country and entered the ACC Tournament as the top seed after amazingly going undefeated in the ACC during the regular season. The Tar Heels were loaded with a team of future NBA players in JR Reid, Kenny Smith, Scott Williams and Joe Wolf.
Meanwhile, Jim Valvano and NC State limped into the ACC basketball tournament with a conference record of 6-8 and an overall record of just 17-14. To make the NCAA Tournament, the Wolfpack had to win the ACC Tournament, and they did just that — again as the ultimate underdog. NC State stunned North Carolina in the championship game, 68-67, behind the clutch free-throw shooting of Vinny Del Negro, who was named tournament MVP. Incredibly, the Wolfpack still haven’t won the ACC Tournament since.
8. “The Dunk” propels Clemson
Greg Buckner was the ACC Rookie of the Year in 1995 and was twice named to the All-ACC second team, in 1997 and ’98. But a lot of ACC basketball fans might remember him more for what he did in March of 1996, especially those whose loyalty resides in Clemson, South Carolina.
Sure, it was only the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. But if you were there that night at Greensboro Coliseum and you were wearing orange, you will never forget Buckner’s scintillating buzzer-beating slam dunk that lifted 6th-seeded Clemson to a 75-73 upset victory over 3rd-seeded North Carolina.
It is known around Clemson as “The Dunk,” and for a program that hardly beats mighty North Carolina, and we really mean hardly ever, it is a moment frozen in time when the Tigers had it all over the Tar Heels. And while Clemson lost the next day in the semifinals to eventual tournament champion Wake Forest, Buckner’s final-second dash to the basket provided more than enough memories for the Tigers’ faithful to talk about on their ride home.
9. The Noles slay the blue-bloods
Florida State simply had no fear during the 2012 ACC men’s basketball tournament in Atlanta. After disposing of Miami in the quarterfinals, the 3rd-seeded Seminoles really went to work. And they did it against Duke and North Carolina, which have combined to win 39 ACC Tournament titles.
First, Florida State took down No. 2-seeded Duke in the semifinals. The following day, they toppled a UNC team featuring Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall to win the title.
Tournament MVP Michael Snaer scored 18 points to lead the Seminoles to an 85-82 upset of the Tar Heels and their first and still only ACC Tournament championship. Fittingly, FSU’s championship ended a stretch where Duke or North Carolina won the ACC Tournament title in 14 of the previous 15 years.
10. Duke kick-starts its reign
We end the countdown of greatest moments with an ode to the program with the most ACC men’s tournament titles. And we do it by pinpointing the 1999 tournament in Charlotte, where top-seeded Duke rolled past 3rd-seeded North Carolina, 96-73, to win another of its conference-best 21 tourney championships.
Led by tournament MVP Elton Brand, the Blue Devils steamrolled Virginia, NC State and then the rival Tar Heels on their path to the crown. That Duke team, which eventually lost to UConn in the national championship game, was also the top-ranked team in the country at the time of its latest Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament conquest.
Their 1999 ACC title started an astonishing run of dominance in which they won 10 out of 13 conference tournament crowns between 1999 and 2011.
Where the ACC Tournament has been played
The ACC Tournament has, shall we say, gotten around. In its 7 decades of glorious existence, the tournament has been staged at 12 venues, in 5 states and in 1 district (Washington, D.C.). As you would expect, considering the geographical locations of most of the ACC’s programs, especially before it expanded, the tournament has mostly been held in the Southeast.
North Carolina, as you also might expect, has been the historical hub, with venerable Greensboro Coliseum leading the way with 28 ACC basketball tournaments hosted, starting with the 1967 tourney. Greensboro will host its 29th ACC Tournament in 2023. Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, a relic in its own right, hosted the first 13 ACC Tournaments between 1954-66.
Charlotte has provided a merry-go-round of sorts for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, having hosted the event in 3 arenas within its city limits alone. The “old” Charlotte Coliseum that opened in 1956 hosted the ACC Tournament in 1968, 1969 and 1970. That building is still standing today (it’s now called the Bojangles Coliseum, by the way), but the “new” Charlotte Coliseum that opened in 1988 and hosted 8 ACC Tournaments between 1990-2002 was demolished in 2007. Then, there’s the newest of the 3 Charlotte arenas, the Spectrum Center, which is home to the Charlotte Hornets and hosted the ACC men’s tournament in 2008 and 2019.
Atlanta has also hosted the ACC basketball tournament in 3 venues. There was the now-demolished Atlanta basketball shrine called the Omni Coliseum (where Dominique Wilkins did most of his damage), which hosted the ACC Tournament in 1983, ’85 and ’89. Then the old Georgia Dome, which is also now demolished, hosted the event in 2001 and ’09, before State Farm Arena, the current home of the Atlanta Hawks, got its turn to host in 2012.
The ACC men’s basketball tournament has only travelled to the Sunshine State once — so far, at least. It was in 2007, when Amalie Arena, home to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, hosted the event. The ACC Tournament has also taken its Tobacco Road-centric show north to 3 destinations. In 1976, ’81 and ’87, the tournament was held at the now-demolished Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Right down the road from the old “Cap Centre,” in 2005 and 2016, the ACC Tournament was staged at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., and it will be held there next year, too.
Finally, in a definite sign of the new times with the ACC’s expansion into the Northeast, the ACC basketball tournament has been held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn 3 times — in 2017, 2018 and 2022.