ACC Tournament Semifinals: Best 2 NCAA Basketball Picks For Today

Kevin Stott

Friday, March 11, 2016 12:52 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 11, 2016 12:52 PM UTC

Let's look at the some recent, relevant Trends and key players in these two games and come up with some hopefully solid NCAA basketball picks for today.

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame
Brice Johnson and #1 seed North Carolina (26-6, 15-4 ACC) meet #4 seed Notre Dame (21-10, 12-7 ACC) in the first of two ACC Tournament Semifinals Round games at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on Friday night. The winner of this game will move on to the ACC Tournament Championship game on Saturday night (ESPN, 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST). NCAA basketball odds makers have opened up the Tar Heels as 7½-point (5Dimes) favorites with the Total (Points) for this game opening up at 156 ( British bookmaker Ladbrokes had (the odds have been taken down) #1 seed North Carolina at +225 odds to win the ACC Tournament with Notre Dame listed at 14/1 odds. The highest current (Thursday afternoon) odds on the screen to win the NCAA National Championship has North Carolina at 10/1 (Paddy Power) and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame at 100/1 (Ladbrokes).


Previous Meeting This Season, Trends, Players to Watch, General Feel, Picks 
These teams met just once with this season with Notre Dame upsetting North Carolina, 80-76 as 2½-point underdogs in South Bend on Feb. 6 (162½, Under) as the Fighting Irish rallied from a 39-30 Halftime deficit with a 50-37 2nd Half to knock off the Tar Heels. In the victory, all five Notre Dame starters were in double-figures: Demetrius Jackson (19 points), Bonzie Colson (19 points), Zach Auguste (15 points), Steve Vasturia (13 points) and VJ Beachem (10 points) despite the fact the Fighting Irish shot just 18.8% from 3-point range (3-16) and were outrebounded 39-34. To get here, North Carolina defeated Pittsburgh in Friday’s first game in a contest in which the Panthers led most of the way, but eventually fell and got creamed by the Tar Heels, 88-71 (NC -7½, 150½) while Notre Dame rallied to defeat Duke, 88-80 in the day’s second game (DUKE -2, 154½, Over). Notre Dame is 5-3 ATS in its L8 games overall while North Carolina is 4-2 ATS in its L6 and the Under is 8-3 in the Tar Heels L11 contests overall, despite the Over in Friday’s win over Pittsburgh.

Here expect North Carolina Coach Roy Williams to use the Revenge card as some sort of psychological motivation to get the Tar Heels the Win and into the Semifinals, but with the Roster this team has complied with stud Brice Johnson, Marcus Paige, Joel Berry II, Justin, Kennedy Meeks and sixth-man Isaiah Hicks, anyone who faces this team from this point forward will have their hands full and talk of North Carolina deserving a #1 seed in the upcoming Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament may be justified. Notre Dame may keep it close for a little while, but the Fighting Irish will not be able to score as easily as they did in South Bend and stopping the loaded Tar Heels from scoring right about now seems like wishful thinking. And despite the 8-3 ATS L11 Under run by North Carolina, with this particular cast of players on the court for both teams, this situation and this site, it’s really hard to make a case for the Under and the Over would have to be slight lean.

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Predicted Final Score: North Carolina 92  Notre Dame 78
NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina -7½ 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


Virginia vs. Miami-Florida
Malcolm Brogdon and #2 seed Virginia (25-6, 14-5 ACC) face #3-seed Miami-Florida (26-6, 14-5 ACC) in the Semifinals Round of the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on Friday with the winner of this game moving on to the Championship Game on Saturday night (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) where they will face the winner of the North Carolina-Notre Dame Semifinal. Offshore Oddsmakers have opened up Virginia as -4½ (BetOnline) favorites late Thursday night with the Total (Points) for this game yet to open up at Press time. British bookmaker Ladbrokes had #2 seed Virginia listed at +250 odds to win the ACC Tournament with Miami-Florida opening at +450 before taking them down after the Tourney tipped off on Monday. The highest odds on the screen to win the NCAA National Championship presently have Virginia priced at 14/1 (Ladbrokes) and Miami-Florida at 33/1 (Ladbrokes). Let's put it all together for our NCAA basketball pick.


Previous Meetings This Season, Injuries, Players to Watch (It's Malcolm Brogdon Time...Again), Tout-Free Pick 
These two teams played two times in ACC play this Regular Season with each school winning on its own Homecourt. The Cavaliers won 66-58 in Charlottesville (VA -4½, 131½, Under) on Jan. 12 while the Hurricanes won 64-61 in Miami (MIA -1½, 128, Under). With their Win and Cover over Georgia Tech on Friday in ACC Quarterfinals play, the Hoos have now W8 of 9 ATS and with stud Malcolm Brogdon (26 points) leading the way—Anthony Gill (12 points) was the only other Virginia player in double digits on a Roster from which everyone played and the red-hot Cavaliers shot 53.8% (28-52) and 50%(7-14) from 3-point land (50%) where your 11th pizza is free. Virginia will need more Offensive production here against upstart Miami-Florida with Isaiah Wilkins (9 points), Devon Hall (6 points), London Perrantes (8 points) and Mike Tobey (9 points) all needing to help Brogdon by maybe just a basket more each. And this second ACC Semifinal game should be extremely tight throughout. The Hurricanes ousted a Virginia Tech side which had W6 (and W6 ATS) heading in Thursday but after the Hokies led for the first 10 minutes or so, the Hurricanes kicked it in and earned an 88-82 win (MIA -9½, 140, Over) over Virginia Tech, avenging a double-digit Loss at Blacksburg just last weekend in the last game of the Regular Season. Poof. In Miami’s Quarterfinals win, five Hurricanes were in double-digit scoring in Sheldon McClellan (21 points), Angel Rodriguez (19 points), Davon Reed (17 points), Tonye Jekiri (11 points, 5 rebounds) and Ja’Quan Newton (10 points). Miami was 30-for-53 from the Field (56.5%) and 8-for-18 on 3-points attempts (44.4%) and showed why they currently are (and have been) ranked in or near the Top 10 teams in the nation (AP #11, USA Today Coaches Poll #11) pretty much all season long. Best recognize.

Virginia will look to keep Miami’s 5-foot-10 PG Rodriguez in check (it won’t be easy) while Miami will try to do what it can with Brogdon (that will be even harder). This game may evolve into something similar to a Boxing match, with scoring hard to ultimately come by for both sides as the minutes tick by (probably unlike the NC-ND game). The Oddsmakers have shown their respect for Virginia with this 4½-point opening spread (BetOnline) as these teams are very close and both very good and the Canes may actually possess the more balanced scoring attack. Not a game to unload on as in previous Cavaliers games in the 8-1 ATS run, but Head Coach Tony Bennett’s squad is more likely to do more little things right and create their own breaks over a 40-minute College Basketball game...and this is an important one for the Hoos who have gotten as they have been in 30 years although Miami-Florida could probably claim this is as good as its Men’s Basketball program has ever been too, so a tip of the hat to Hurricanes Head Coach Jim Larrañaga for all he has accomplished in the southern tip of the Sunshine State where a dude named Joe has a Crab Shack that attracts Homo Sapiens like Bees to the Queen. It must be the Butter. Here, it’s pretty simple: Until, somebody like maybe a Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) or a Denzel Valentine (Michigan State) crosses paths with him, it’s “In Brogdon We Trust”.

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Predicted Final Score: Virginia 65  Miami 57
NCAA Basketball Pick: Virginia -4½ 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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