When the Syracuse Orange and Notre Dame Fighting Irish joined the ACC in 2014, the Conference consisted of six programs as the Maryland Terrapins still had not bolted to the B10. That year the ACC Championship was a four team tournament with the bottom two teams playing in the ACC Showcase game. When Maryland departed the following year, the tournament still held a showcase game with the last program in the standings, the North Carolina Tar Heels, playing the Penn Quakers.
This year the ACC Championship will be played in Kennesaw, GA at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the campus of Kennesaw State University. The ACC Showcase game will go on but with a new name, the ACC-Brown Classic, as the Brown Bears will be subbing in to play the fifth ranked Atlantic Coast Conference team. The matchup will be played on Saturday, April 30 at 7 PM.
Currently Brown has wins over the Quinnipiac Bobcats and Stony Brook Seawolves. The Bears were picked to finish sixth out of seven in the Ivy League in the Ivy League Coaches' Preseason Poll. This is a team that has a lot of upside potential, especially with junior Dylan Molloy on the team. Molloy was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2015 and led all division I players with 3.65 goals per game. Molloy will be without Nick Piroli, a graduate student who used up his four years of eligibility at Brown and transferred to Syracuse University. According to Ivy League rules, players have only four years of eligibility, even if the NCAA provides a medical redshirt. The Bears are ranked first in points per game with 29 and scoring offense with 18 goals per game in division I. Brown also has a very good faceoff man in Will Gural, a senior who is now ranked fourth in the country in faceoff winning percentage and who in 2015 had a .597 winning percentage.
I see the Duke and Notre Dame being locks for the first and second seeds in the ACC Tourney, leaving UNC, SU, and UVA fighting for the third and fourth seeds. Therefore, this weekend's matchup between the Syracuse Orange and the Virginia Cavaliers will go a long way in deciding which of the ACC's bottom three teams will faceoff with Brown.