ACC Tournament Championship Game: Take UNC & 'Over' Against Virginia

Kevin Stott

Saturday, March 12, 2016 4:38 PM GMT

Let’s handicap this ACC Tournament Finals game including and come up with a logical half-Art, half-Science pick for our website readership in what should be a very exciting game.

North Carolina vs. Virginia
Brice Johnson and #1 seed North Carolina (27-6, 16-4 ACC) face #2 seed Virginia (26-6, 15-5 vs. CC) in the ACC Tournament Championship Game at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on Saturday with the winner of this game—and possible even the loser—likely ending up to be a #1 seed in one of the NCAA Tournament’s four Regions which will be announced on Sunday (CBS NCAA Championship Selection Show, 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT). NCAA basketball odds makers have opened up the Tar Heels as slight 1½-point (5Dimes) favorites here with the Total (Points) for this game opening up at 138½ (Bookmaker). In the Money Line (Winner) marketplace, North Carolina is a -125 favorite with Virginia pried at +105 on the takeback (5Dimes). British bookmaker Ladbrokes opened top-seed North Carolina at +225 odds to win the ACC Tournament with Virginia listed +250 odds, so with these two in the Finals, the linemakers knew what they were doing. The highest current (Thursday evening) odds on the screen to win the NCAA National Championship has North Carolina at 10/1 (Paddy Power) with Virginia at 14/1 (William Hill).

 

Previous Meetings This Season, Series Trends, Injuries, Players to Watch, ACC Championship Game Picks 
These teams met once this season (Feb. 27) with Virginia defeating (then) #7 North Carolina in Charlottesville, 79-74, (VA -2½, 137, Over) as Malcolm Brogdon had 26 points, Anthony Gill 15 points, London Perrantes 11 points and Devon Hall 10 points in the Win. The Cavaliers were outrebounded 33-29 and outshot (49.2%-44.3%) from the Field by the Tar Heels. Getting to this point here on Saturday, North Carolina did a number on Notre Dame in Friday’s first Semifinal, pounding the Fighting Irish, 78-47 (-7, 158½, Under) as Marcus Paige (16 points), Joel Berry II (12 points), Brice Johnson (12 points) and Isaiah Hicks (10 points) led the top-seed to an easy win in the day’s first Semifinal. The Tar Heels held a laughable 41-22 lead at Halftime in the game in which #4 seed Notre Dame was a pathetic 30% from the Field (15-50) and were down by as much as 37 points (78-41 2H) at one point. In the second Semifinal, #2 seed Virginia forced 16 Miami-Florida TOs which led to 19 points and the Cavaliers held off the Hurricanes for a 73-68 win (VA -4, 128 Over) as star Brogdon (24 points) led the way for the Hoos who won their 5th straight game SU. Perrantes (11 points), Marial Shayok (10 points) and Isaiah Wilkins (8 points, 7 rebounds) also had decent game Offensively for the Cavaliers who really clamped down on Miami-Florida but should end up having more problems with the bigger, more athletic and disciplined (and deeper) Tar Heels Roster. And you know North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams will be chirping the Revenge song in his young player’s ears after losing on the Road at Virginia not so long ago.

Virginia has W4 of L6 meetings with North Carolina dating back to 2012-14 season and is a very impressive 9-1 ATS in its L10 games overall, although Friday’s ATS cover (VA -4) all came down to last-minute freakiness as many Basketball games do. So when the Nurse asks why drool is all over my pajamas collar when I’m 89, please tell her it was because I bet the Basketball. Much obliged. Despite the recent run by Virginia, North Carolina—which will be seekings its 18th ACC Tournament Title—is like one of maybe six teams in the entire country that can beat this Virginia team right now and despite early thoughts that Virginia would win this ACC Tournament, the feel now is that HC Williams will devise some way to bottle up Brogdon and  his strong and big frontline could to dominate the Boards underneath. With Johnson, Berry II, Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, 5th-man Isaiah Hicks (11 points vs. Notre Dame) and the valuable Paige, the thought now is that the Tar Heels Confidence is at a high and that they may have expended less Emotional and Physical energy getting to this point, although the Cavaliers and Head Coach Tony Bennett have been extremely efficient in their two games in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals rounds. The Hoos may be worried coming in here and if anyone will be racing out to a double-digit in the spotlight in this Championship Game, it should be North Carolina which may just be the most Athletic team in NCAA Basketball right now, with Kansas and Michigan State maybe the only competition in that particular regard.

But Basketball is about many things, including intelligence and Crowd Support and Virginia will have the Crowd Edge here despite the Tar Heels fans travelling well and also being in attendance in DC, especially for this can’t-miss game. Both of these teams could be #1 seeds in the Big Dance and maybe the best simple way to look at this game is that Virginia will want a slow, methodical, milk-every-possession and then get a quality shot game while North Carolina will want to push the pace and run. This one will be fun but it seems Brogdon may finally meet his match and may fold from having so much Pressure seemingly on him to carry his team while senior G Paige (11.9 ppg) and the Tar Heels (W4 SU, W3 ATS) know that they can get scoring from several places if their big man (Johnson) is being held in check. Don’t miss this one for your NCAA Basketball picks.

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Predicted Score Final: North Carolina 74 Virginia 69
NCAA Basketball Picks: North Carolina -2 & Over 138½
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle