FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., MARCH 4 -- The Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball tournament will start Saturday with Maryland and Virginia sharing similar ambitions.

The two teams tied for first place in the regular season. The Cavaliers, ranked ninth nationally, are 6-10 in 10 previous tournaments, never having won the league championship. The 11th-ranked Terrapins are the premier team in ACC tournament history, winning the title six times.

Top-seeded Virginia (23-3 overall, 12-2 in ACC) will begin Saturday's opening round at 1 p.m. against eighth-seeded North Carolina State (10-16, 3-11). Fourth-seeded Clemson (20-7, 8-6) will face fifth-seeded Duke (17-10, 5-9) at 3. At 6, second-seeded Maryland (21-5, 12-2) will play seventh-seeded Georgia Tech (11-15, 3-11), which has never won an ACC tournament game (0-8). Third-seeded Wake Forest (21-6, 9-5) and sixth-seeded North Carolina (10-16, 4-10) complete the first-round pairings at 8.

Maryland and Virginia are favored to reach Monday night's final, which will determine the ACC's automatic bid to the upcoming 40-team NCAA tournament. The semifinals are scheduled at 4 and 6 o'clock Sunday.

"I think we {Maryland and Virginia} are very similar in terms of our styles," said Chris Weller, who has coached the Terrapins to a 258-111 record the last 13 seasons.