The ACC Tournament kicks off today as the Virginia Cavaliers square off against the Miami Hurricanes, and the victor will advance to play the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The ACC Tournament
gets started in Greensboro, NC on Thursday afternoon, and two of the teams that
have struggled for the majority of the season are going to try to get some
positive mojo going. Either the Miami Hurricanes or the Virginia Cavaliers will
live to fight another day to take on the awaiting North Carolina Tar Heels.
Thin Canes Need Big Game From Johnson
The Miami Hurricanes
really don't have that deep of a squad, especially since DeQuan Jones hasn't
been in the lineup in eight games. There are only five scorers that are
averaging more than 4.1 PPG on the season, and these five end up spending a
tremendous amount of time on the court.
Malcolm Grant is
the scoring leader in the bunch with 14.9 PPG, while Durant Scott is good for
13.2 PPG. However, the man that really needs to step it up is Reggie Johnson. A
legit center at 6'10", 303 lbs, Johnson has the ability to throw his weight
around in the paint. He does have three straight games with at least a dozen
boards, but averaging just 12.0 PPG and 9.7 RPG just doesn't seem quite right
for a man his size.
aren't a particularly great rebounding team, and if Johnson isn't at his best,
the squad is really in some trouble on the glass.
Cavvies Catching Fire at Right Time
All of a sudden,
UVA really came on strong at the end of the season and won four of its last
five games to at least put it in a spot where it could be an NIT team. The team
is averaging allowing just 62.2 PPG this year, a great number considering how
much offense there is in the ACC.
percent from beyond the arc is a great number (No. 23 in the country, in fact),
but it just isn't showing up on the scoreboard. The Cavaliers are only
averaging 61.9 PPG, ranking No. 311 in the country. Since Mike Scott has been
knocked out of the lineup, the scoring onus really has been on Mustapha
Farrakhan and Joe Harris. These two guards are averaging 13.5 PPG and 10.6 PPG
respectively, and they are the leaders of this club when things get tough.
Rebounding is also
a huge problem. UVA not only lost its best scorer, but its best rebounder as
well when Scott saw his season come to an end just 10 games in. Now, only Assane
Sene is averaging even five boards per game. The Cavs are outrebounding their
foes for the season, but only by a margin of less than a rebound per game.
Stacking Up the ACC Tournament Odds
reason, these two teams have some weird quirks about Thursday games. Virginia
is just 2-10 ATS in its last 12 played on this day of the week, while Miami is
10-2 ATS in its last 12 in this situation.
Neither one of
these teams really has gained the upper hand on the other in recent years. The
two have split 10 meetings from an ATS standpoint, while the Canes have the
slender 6-4 SU edge since January 2005 in this rivalry.
Though the NCAA Basketball odds
have tabbed the Cavaliers as the underdogs in this one, we're not so sure that
it is justified. We're going to take the three points given to us on the
boards and run, knowing that we can win both with an outright
victory, or with a game that really comes down to the wire.