Let’s look at the ACC Tournament seedings and futures odds and try to anticipate what will happen, where some winners may be hidden and offer up both an ACC short odds and longshot pick.
Introduction: A Shift of Power Away From Tobacco Road in the Atlantic Coast Conference? Not So Fast, Buster...
The new-look Atlantic Coast Conference may be down just a tiny bit from last year but those conference members who make the NCAA Men’s Division I Tournament will get the chance to represent this historic yet still new-looking conference and despite the fact that #11 Louisville will be missing all of the Postseason (ACC Tournament, NCAA Tournament), the ACC still has at least four schools who have at worst at least outside chance at winning the national championship this year in #4 Virginia (22-6), #7 Miami-Florida (23-5), #8 North Carolina (23-6) and defending national champions and #17-ranked Duke (21-8) and legendary Head Coach 36-year Mike Krzyzewski. Can I buy a vowel Pat?.
Fourteen of the 15 ACC schools gather at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC this week to play in the 2016 ACC Conference Tournament from March 8-12 and any regional homecourt advantage for the so-called Tobacco Road schools (Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest) evaporates with this site and more Mid-Atlantic region located schools like Virginia and Virginia Tech may gain some slight fan attendance edge and mini-support but nothing to potentially shift the overall outcome of betting numbers too much but having it not be in the state of North Carolina is good for the other teams involved. Can you hear me now? And when your new-look conference now stretches the Eastern seaboard from Boston south to Miami and isn’t so Tobacco Road-centric, maybe that’s a good thing and nobody can really say much when the defending champions (Duke) still hail from this mighty conference. Let’s take a look at the NCAA basketball odds to win the ACC Tournament, the tournament schedule, the Bracket itself and then postulate on what might happen from Tuesday to Saturday in the US Capitol as well as offer up a couple of various NCAA basketball picks for this tournament.
Odds to Win ACC Conference Tournament
1—North Carolina +225
4—Notre Dame 14/1
6—Virginia Tech 100/1
10—Georgia Tech 80/1
11—Florida State 66/1
12—North Carolina State 100/1
13—Wake Forest 150/1
14—Boston College 250/1
ACC Conference Tournament Schedule (at Verizon Center, Washington, DC)
Tuesday, March 8, 2016—First Round
#12 NC State vs. #13 Wake Forest (ESPN2, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
#14 Florida State vs. #15 Boston College (ESPN2, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT)
Wednesday, March 9, 2016—Second Round
#8 Pittsburgh vs. #9 Syracuse (ESPN, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
#5 Duke vs. #12 NC State/#13 Wake Forest Winner (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT)
#7 Clemson vs. #10 Georgia Tech (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 FSU/#14 BC Winner (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Thursday, March 10, 2016—Quarterfinals
#1 North Carolina vs. #8 Pittsburgh/#9 Syracuse Winner (ESPN, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
#4 Notre Dame vs. #5 Duke/#12 NC St-#13 Wake Forest Winner (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT)
#2 Virginia vs. #7 Clemson/#10 Georgia Tech Winner (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
#3 Miami-Florida vs. #6 Virginia Tech/#11 FSU-#14 BC Winner (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Friday, March 11, 2016—Semifinals
#1 NC/#8 Pitt-#9 Syracuse Winner vs. #4 ND vs. #5 Duke/#12 NC State-#13 Wake Winner (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
#2 Virginia/#7 Clemson-#10 GT Winner vs. #3 Miami-Fla/#6 VT-#11 FSU-#14 BC Winner (ESPN, 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT)
Saturday, March 12, 2016—Championship Game
#1-4-5-8-9-12-13 Seed-Winner vs. #2-3-6-7-10-11-14 Seed-Winner (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
ACC Conference Tournament Approaches and Theoretical Evolution This Conference Tourney Week
As you can see, probably the biggest question mark game may come on Thursday in the Quarterfinals when #4 seed Notre Dame faces the winner of the #5 Duke/#12 North Carolina State-#13 Wake Forest game from Wednesday—in all likelihood Duke. This year in Regular Season ACC play, the Fighting Irish beat the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 95-91, but no matter who wins that Quarterfinals game, Brice Johnson and ACC Regular season champions North Carolina will likely await in the Semifinals the following day. From a distance, it looks like whomever wins the top half of the Bracket in this tournament will have to go through the Tar Heels while the winner of the bottom half of the Bracket will likely have to go through the #2 seed Virginia, which is playing as good as the program has in 30 years. And the theoretical Quarterfinals game on Thursday between #3 seed Miami-Florida and #6 Virginia Tech—should the Hokies beat the FSU/BC winner on Wednesday—seems like a good opportunity to back Zach LeDay, Justin Bibbs and underdog Virginia Tech (with the points and maybe on the Moneyline) as the Hokies just beat the Hurricanes, 77-62 in Blacksburg on Saturday.
In the Quarterfinals, the four ACC teams awaiting with Byes don’t have the pressure—unlike so many other College Basketball conferences—of having to win (and quite often win-out) to make the Big Dance as the Cavaliers, Hurricanes, Tar Heels and Blue Devils are all going to make the NCAA Tournament anyway. In reality, this ACC Tournament is more important for Bubble teams or other upstart Conference schools to make the 68-team field. As of now, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has 7 teams from the ACC in the Big Dance—Virginia, North Carolina, Miami-Florida, Duke, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh—with the Panthers on the Bubble (on Sunday afternoon). So teams like #6-seed Clemson, #7-seed Virginia Tech and #9-seed Pittsburgh will be treating this ACC tourney as ticket to the party and playing their hearts out as long. Like many Conference Tournaments this time of year, almost anyone can get hot and on a roll but sometimes having to play 3 or 4 straight days brings its own challenges.
Sweet Virginia: Conclusions, Betting Approach and a Game, Regular and Longshot Pick
This ACC Conference Tournament should pretty much hold to expected form save for possibly one rogue underdog maybe making it to the Semifinals, possibly aforementioned Virginia Tech (18-13, 10-8 in ACC) or Head Coach Jim Boeheim and the Orange of Syracuse (16-8, 6-5 in ACC). So, a North Carolina-Virginia Championship game may ultimately be in the cards and when those two last met not so long ago (Feb. 27), 7th-year Head Coach Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers rolled to a 79-74 victory over North Carolina in Charlottesville as stud Malcolm Brogdon finished with 26 points for Virginia. So, should a North Carolina-Virginia title game ultimately transpire here, having the Cavaliers at the current market price of +250 (Ladbrokes) would give the sports gambler not only a chance to win the Futures bet, but may also provide a hedging opportunity. And, why Virginia Tech (1,000 to win NCAA Championship, Ladbrokes) as a longshot? The Hokies will get the winner of the #14-seed Boston College and #13-seed Florida State which means Virginia Tech will be more-than-likely be playing the Seminoles in their first game in the 2nd Round, and FSU beat the Seminoles 83-73 on Feb. 20 in Blacksburg. Should the Hokies win, they would then face #3 seed Miami-Florida in the Quarterfinals on Thursday. Virginia Tech split with the Hurricanes in ACC play this year, with the Hokies winning the last meeting at Home on Saturday, 77-62 in the last game of the Regular Season.
Should Virginia Tech play its way into the Semifinals, an intrastate date with #2 seed Virginia might wait, a tough test with the Cavaliers having already beaten the Hokies (Feb. 9) pretty badly in Charlottesville, 67-49. But if this matchup evolves, you can count on Virginia Tech being juiced for the upset while Virginia knows it’s already in (the Big Dance) no matter what. Maybe hook an Old Dominion State brother up, Cavaliers? This tournament is more than about this tournament. And should Virginia Tech somehow make it to the Championship Game—with a chance to make the Big Dance then on the line—a Saturday date with #1 North Carolina may await. The Hokies lost to the Tar Heels, 75-70 at Home in Blacksburg (Jan. 24) and only held the lead for a brief moment in that game, but if this unlikely scenario does develop, everyone across the nation and in the Verizon Center will be pulling for Virginia Tech (16-9 ATS). The path is tough, as reflected by the 100/1 odds to win the ACC Conference Tournament (Ladbrokes), but one never knows and the Hokies should probably priced closer to 50/1 to 60/1 although a theoretical Florida State (#11 seed), Miami-Florida (#3 seed), Virginia, (#2 seed) and North Carolina (#1 seed) path to this championship and the Big Dance would be a hardwood minefield few could negotiate. But with those juicy 100/1 odds, should Virginia Tech get by (likely) Miami in the Quarterfinals and into the Semifinals, some hedging could be done.
ACC TOURNAMENT GAME PICK: Florida State over Boston College (Tuesday)
ACC TOURNAMENT PICK: Virginia +250 (Ladbrokes)
ACC TOURNAMENT LONGSHOT PICK: Virginia Tech 100/1 (Ladbrokes)