ACC Tournament 2nd Round Full Analysis & Best Basketball Picks

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 12:37 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2016 12:37 PM UTC

Let’s take a look at the numbers, Trends and overall feel for two of these midweek ACC Tournament games that currently have odds up and offer up some hopefully profitable picks.

ACC Tournament: 2nd Round Preview, Game 3—Odds Overview
Pittsburgh vs. Syracuse [Wednesday 17:00] (ESPN, WatchESPN, ACC Network, Directv 206 (US), 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT): The 2nd Round of the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC starts early Wednesday with this matchup between the #8-seed and the #9-seed—with the loser no doubt Bubble-bound for good—Pittsburgh (20-10, 9-9 ACC) and Michael Gbinije and Syracuse (19-12, 9-9 ACC). The winner of this game will move on to the Quarterfinals and facc Brice Johnson ACC #1-seed North Carolina on Thursday (ESPN, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT). NCAA basketball odds makers have opened Pittsburgh up as slight 2- (Pinnacle) to 2½-point (-115, Bookmaker) favorites with the Total (Points) for this game opening up at 133 (Bookmaker). The Money Line (Winner) odds see Pittsburgh as -135 favorites with Syracuse priced at -115 on the take-back (The Greek). British bookmaker Ladbrokes has #8-seed Pittsburgh currently listed at 20/1 odds to win the ACC Tournament with #9-seed Syracuse at 33/1 odds while the highest odds on the Oddschecker screen to win the NCAA National Championship have Syracuse at 150/1 (Ladbrokes) and Pitt at 200/1 (bet365, William Hill). Let's start making our NCAA basketball picks.


Previous Meetings This Season, Series Trends, Injuries, Players to Watch, Picks 
These two teams played twice earlier this ACC Regular Season, with Pittsburgh (12-15-0 ATS) winning and covering both meetings. On Dec. 30 in Pittsburgh, the Panthers rolled to 72-61 win (PITT -7½, 138, Under) in The Steel City while on Feb. 20, Pitt won 66-52 in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse (PITT -2, 133, Under) and Head Coach Jamie Dixon and the Panthers have W4 in a row SU in the series which has seen the Panthers go 7-2-1 ATS over the L10 meetings and the Under hit 3 straight and go 6-4 over that span (2011-2016). The Over is 10-1-1 ATS in the L12 Syracuse Neutral Site games while the Under is 10-2 ATS in the L12 Orange games played on a Wednesday. The last Point Spread cover by Syracuse 15-18-0 ATS and legendary Head Coach Jim Boeheim was more than two years ago (Feb. 12, 2014) and the highest Point Total by one team in the L10 meetings was the 83 scored by the Panthers at Home in the Regular Season meeting at the Petersen Events Center last February. Besides both being Bubble teams, 9-9 in the ACC and the #8 and #9 seeds, these two teams are really close and have just a .0031 Pythagorean Win Percentage difference in the latest (Tuesday morning) Ken Pomeroy Rankings (Syracuse #41, .8159, Pittsburgh #43, .8128). Syracuse has no Injuries to report heading in while Pittsburgh G Cameron Johnson (Arm) is listed as Questionable.

The big question here will be can Syracuse (70.2 AF-65.5 AA) find a way to score enough points on Pittsburgh (76.3 AF-67.1 AA) on a Neutral site court and it will depend on getting off to a good start, quick ball movement, taking those open looks from 3 and feeling comfortable with the Verizon Center rims. The Orange are 3-1 at Neutral sites this while the Panthers are 2-0 at Neutral sites. Syracuse should be able to generate enough Offense to win this game and advance with Michael Gbinije (17.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.1 rpg, 40.1% from 3’s), Malachi Richardson (13.2 ppg, 4.4 apg), Trevor Cooney (12.9 ppg), Tyler Lydon (10.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 42% 3’s) and Tyler Roberson (9.0 ppg), the Orange seem to have more scorers than does Pitt, but Syracuse is also down some this season and has to be thinking about already losing twice (by double-digits) to Pitt. The Orange will need stud Gbinije, Richardson and Lydon to get hot from outside but the Panthers (11-16 O/U) might play the best Defense in the conference so this could evolve into a low-scoring slugfest if it stay close for the first 30 minutes. Pittsburgh will look to Sheldon Young (16.1 ppg), Jamel Artis (14.4 ppg), James Robinson (10.4 ppg) and Chris Jones (6.4 ppg) for points, but the Panthers forte is their Defense and Pitt’s 3-point shooting ranks 184th in the nation (34.4%), so more of a case for potential grinder of a game. If Syracuse and its gunners do get hot from outside—as they’re probably not going to develop any Down Low game here—the Panthers could end up being in some real trouble.

Despite Pittsburgh sweeping the season series, picking the winner here is a tough proposition with the Panthers having dominated the series of late and having the better Defense but Syracuse having more players who can score when they get the basketball. But the question here is will they (score) and will they get those precious clean, open looks? Probably not as much as desired with Pittsburgh and the word “bubble” floating around. Just ask Duke about the Panthers D. And with Syracuse having been outrebounded in its L5 straight and Pittsburgh having W4 in a row ATS and being 7-2-1 ATS over the L10 and an overwhelming 19-6-1 ATS the L26 in series (76%), either playing the favorite on the Moneyline and/or playing the Total Under—with the L3 in the series going Under and this being an elimination game involving the Defensive-minded Panthers—seem like the only possible looks here in what should be a tight affair to start 2nd Round play in the ACC Tournament.

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Predicted Final Score: Pittsburgh 62  Syracuse 59
NCAA Basketball Pick: Pittsburgh  -145 & Under 134
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


ACC Tournament: 2nd Round Preview, Game 5—Odds Overview
Clemson vs. Georgia Tech [Thursday 00:00] (ESPN2, WatchESPN, ACC Network, Directv 209 (US), 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT): Seventh-seed Clemson (17-13, 10-8 ACC) meets #10-seed Georgia Tech (18-13, 8-10 ACC) in Wednesday’s third game of the day (and 5th in the Tourney) at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, with the winner of this game moving on to face Malcolm Brogdon and #2-seed Virginia (24-6, 13-5 ACC) on Thursday in the Quarterfinals (ESPN, Watch ESPN, ACC Network, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT). Oddsmakers have made Clemson slim 1½-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) over Georgia Tech here with the Total (Points) opening up at 134 (Bookmaker). The Money Line (Winner) odds sees Clemson as small -125 favorites with the Yellowjackets priced at +105 on the take-back (The Greek). British bookmaker Ladbrokes has #7-seed Clemson priced at 40/1 odds to win the ACC Tournament with #10-seed Georgia Tech at 80/1 odds while the highest odds on the current Oddschecker screen to win the NCAA National Championship surprisingly find Clemson lined at 400/1 (Paddy Power) and longshot Georgia Tech at 300/1 (Ladbrokes).


Previous Meetings This Season, Series Trends, Injuries, Players to Watch, Picks 
In the two Regular Season meeting between these two teams, both Home teams prevailed with Clemson winning the first meeting in South Carolina on Feb. 13, 66-52, and covering as a 5-point favorite (138½, Under) while Clemson lost in Atlanta 10 days later on Feb. 23, 75-73, but covered ATS by a mere ½ point (GT -2½, 135, Over). Clemson (15-11-0 ATS) and Head Coach Brad Brownell are 6-4 ATS the L10 meetings in the series over Georgia Tech (16-12-1 ATS) and Head Coach Brian Gregory and have W3 in a row ATS, including those two aforementioned meetings this year and the Tigers are an impressive 8-2 SU in those 10 games (5-5 O/U), including an embarrassing 56-37 romp in Atlanta on Feb. 21, 2012. But that was Then and this is Now. Both teams come in very healthy with no Injuries to report.

Trend-wise, the Day of the Week (Wednesday) is good for both the Rambling Wreck of Georgia Tech (12-3-1 ATS L16) as well as Clemson (8-2 ATS L10), while the Under is 8-2 ATS in the L10 Tigers games on Wednesday. All fairly meaningless. The Under is 8-3 ATS in the L11 Georgia Tech games overall and this should be a low-scoring brawl with Georgia Tech (73.5 AF-70.6 AA) very capable of pulling off the upset over Jaron Blossomgame and the higher-seed Clemson (69.1 AF-63.7 AA) here. So with the game meaning so much to the survivor—their only potential path to the Big Dance, however unlikely—and both teams skewing to the Under—Georgia Tech 12-17 O/U and Clemson 11-15-0 O/U—the Total lean here is to the Under, but just for the smallest amount and then balancing it with a Clemson Moneyline side bet seems to be the safest approach is a tough game to handicap and maybe wager on with Luck and Randomness more prevalent in these do-or-die Tourney games on Neutral sites, as has been seen already last week and early this week in many of the smaller conferences and their Tourneys. The perennial Madness of March never ends. Unless it’s April through February.

Clemson (#51, .7977 Pythagorean Win Percentage in Ken Pomeroy Ranking) will put much on the big shoulders of the underrated Blossomgame (18.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 44% 3’s) and hope they get enough scoring from Donte Grantham (10.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg), Avry Holmes (9.7 ppg), Jordan Roper (8.8 ppg) and Landry Nnoko (8.4 ppg) and can play good enough Defense to earn the victory and advance. Blossomgame should be the key and Georgia Tech (#62, .7664) will know that going in. The Yellowjackets will looks to Marcus Georges-Hunt (16.6 ppg), Adam Smith (14.6 ppg, 40.8% 3’s), Nick Jacobs (10.8 ppg) and Charles Mitchell (10.3 ppg) for scoring and the performances of 6-5 215-pound senior G Georges-Hunt and senior G Smith in the Georgia Tech backcourt will likely determine this team’s fate. But in the end, it seems Blossomgame will find a way to get his Tigers the win in Washington, DC in what should be an extremely close and thrilling game with many possible lead changes throughout.

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Predicted Final Score: Clemson 63  Georgia Tech 60
NCAA Basketball Pick: Clemson -113
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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