ACC Tournament Preview: Chalk UVA-Duke Final?

Rainman M.

Monday, March 5, 2018 12:59 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 12:59 PM UTC

The ACC Tournament tips off Tuesday in Brooklyn and concludes Saturday night. Read on for betting insight into the tournament winner and possible surprises.

2018 ACC Tournament Odds
  • Boston College: +5000
  • Clemson: +800
  • Duke: +300
  • Florida State: +1600
  • Georgia Tech: +10000
  • Louisville: +2500
  • Miami: +1600
  • North Carolina: +500
  • North Carolina State: +1400
  • Notre Dame: +3000
  • Pittsburgh: +25000
  • Syracuse: +2500
  • Virginia: +250
  • Virginia Tech: +1200
  • Wake Forest: +10000

Syracuse and Louisville will be desperate to win in order to make the NCAA Tournament. I think neither one merits bettors’ attention. Syracuse did finally beat a ranked team by upsetting Clemson in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. But away from the Dome, away from the Orange faithful who help electrify Cuse’s zone defense, the Orange are only 3-6 SU. Overall, the Cuse’s offense is inconsistent and ranks 12th in the ACC in KenPom’s efficiency. Its guards are streaky-at-best, and its big men are often skittish. Forward Marek Dolezaj, for instance, didn’t even attempt a shot at Boston College. Overall, the Cuse ranks outside the top 10 in both three-point and two-point percentage. The careless mistakes and turnovers also hurt them -- they rank 13th in turnover percentage. If the Orange beat Wake, I can’t see them beating North Carolina, who beat them in the Dome. Louisville likewise isn’t worth considering. If it wins a possible coin-flip game against Florida State, then it would have to face Virginia, which it has lost to twice this season and the last six matchups, in fact.

The two long-shots bettors should focus on are Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. The Irish have a healthy Bonzie Colson back, who nearly achieved a double-double in the first half against Virginia on Saturday. With him, the Irish upended Wichita State 67-66 on Nov. 22 on a neutral court. After beating winless Pitt on Tuesday, the Irish would face the Hokies. ND lost to VT on Jan. 27 80-75, but without stars Matt Farrell and Colson. Farrell is an electric three-point shooter who ranks 290th in three-point percentage. With him, ND can exploit a VT defense that ranks outside the top 10 in opposing three-point percentage and proportion of three-point attempts allowed. NCAAB bettors could hedge the super valuable Irish the rest of the way.

Georgia Tech is in a propitious part of the bracket. They match up well against the atrocious interior defense of Boston College, which ranks outside the top 10 in opposing two-point percentage and blocks. GT relies more than any other ACC team in scoring inside the arc. GT’s defense is strong, ranking sixth in efficiency, and its perimeter defense is second-best and can attack BC’s proclivity for shooting threes. GT can then beat NC State again, which ranks last in opposing two-point percentage and then maybe even Clemson, against which GT was competitive in both games. Bettors can hedge GT the rest of the way.

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Congrats to @DukeMBB freshman Marvin Bagley, who has been named the ACC's Player of the Year AND Rookie of the Year!

— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) March 4, 2018

Predicting Duke-Virginia Final

Virginia became slightly less attractive after star playmaker Kyle Guy suffered a knee injury Saturday against the Irish. He did return to the game but didn’t make a shot or stay on the floor for long, and his health is uncertain.

Duke can seem scary because it'll probably have to face North Carolina in the semifinals UNC’s defense is not what it once was, ranking 12th in KenPom’s efficiency. UNC doesn’t force many turnovers, which is crucial to beating Duke, and is vulnerable from three, ranking outside the top 10 in opposing three-point percentage and proportion of three-point attempts allowed. Duke thrives in scoring threes in transition and in otherwise creating three-point opportunities. The Blue Devils achieved a 20-point swing on Saturday against UNC when they started making shots. Forward Gary Trent leads the way, ranking 156th in three-point percentage.

Contrary to UNC, Duke plays strong defense, ranking second in efficiency. UNC relies on scoring inside the arc more than nearly every other ACC team. But Duke ranks second in opposing two-point percentage with its variety of strong rim defenders. Center Wendell Carter ranks 64th in block percentage.

Virginia will beat either FSU or Louisville, both of which UVA already beat in a on the road with a gutsy comeback, then presumably Clemson, which it smashed by 25 points on Jan. 23.

Against defending tournament champion Duke, Virginia can force many turnovers, but will struggle to score with its notoriously inconsistent offense (not to mention with a possibly injured Guy) against a Duke defense that ranks in the top five in opposing three-point and two-point field goal percentage. UVA can only rely on its top-notch defense so much against a Duke offense with too many NBA-caliber playmakers who can score or create scoring in different ways, like freshman forward Marvin Bagley III, who ranks in the top 100 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage and two-point shooting, and guard Grayson Allen, who makes Duke better when he leads the offense and is an effective distributor whose jump shot easily catches fire. The final edge will be coaching: UVA coach Tony Bennett is 1-6 SU against Hall of Fame coaches in tournament play.

Free NCAAB Pick: Duke +300Best Line Offered: BetOnlineCheck Out SBR's March Madness Page
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