'Hoo' (Hint) Should You On Between UVA and UNC in ACC Final?

Rainman M.

Saturday, March 10, 2018 3:06 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 10, 2018 3:06 PM UTC

National No. 1 Virginia and No. 12 UNC clash in the championship of the ACC Tournament tonight at 8:30 ET in Brooklyn. How should bettors approach it?

Virginia Cavaliers (30-2) vs North Carolina Tar Heels (25-9)Free NCAAB Pick: Parlay Virginia ML and UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Virginia has consistently been overrated by NCAAB oddsmakers, failing to cover three out of its last four and four out of its last six. But that hasn't stopped the Cavs from winning, having won their seventh in a row yesterday evening.

The matchup indicates that Virginia will win tonight and in a way that produces a low-scoring output. The total will be relatively high for a Virginia game because of UNC's proclivity to push the tempo on offense. UNC plays with the 14th-quickest tempo nationally. Virginia's defense, though, excels at slowing down the other team. It produces the 347th-slowest opposing average length of possession.

UVA's defense will slow down UNC because of its offense. Virginia's offense is extraordinarily deliberate, having the 351st slowest average length of possession. The 'Hoos pride themselves on careful shot selection and taking care of the ball. Guards Kyle Guy and Devon Hall rank in the top 120 in turnover rate. As a result, even though they are notorious for scoring few points, their offense ranks 30th in KenPom efficiency. As long as Virginia can select the best shot, they don't need to risk gold-mining by trying to achieve an offensive rebound.

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The 'Hoos neglect offensive rebounding and focus on good shot selection in order to get back on defense and be in good position. In doing so, they limit easy baskets and prevent an opposing team from igniting its transition offense. Transition offense and tempo are huge for the Tar Heels, but they can't rely on these things today. Virginia ranks in the top 60 both in percentage of blocks and of steals allowed. Its defense ranks 292nd in forcing turnovers, meaning that Virginia will comfortably select a good shot -- conversely, UVA gave up a season-high 68 points to 'Press' (West) Virginia in a 68-61 loss on Dec. 5 because the Mountaineers thrive at making the opposing offense uncomfortable.

North Carolina will confront UVA's top-ranked half-court defense. The Tar Heels rely on driving inside with Joel Berry or Theo Pinson, making good passes with its top-ranked half-court offense and otherwise finishing inside. Virginia ranks in the top 40 in both turnover and steal percentage because it is so hard to pass against. UNC had 19 turnovers when UVA beat UNC 61-49 on Jan. 6 because of how Virginia's defense creates the facade of open passing lanes, but support and pressure arrive to take the ball away.

The Cavs are strong inside with big men Isaiah Wilkins and Jack Salt ranking in the top 200 in block percentage and UVA ranking 42nd in the category. The pack-line style of defense clogs the inside where the Tar Heels carved up Duke's zone Friday in order to achieve so many assists. UVA will make UNC uncomfortable by making it settle for outside jump shots. Meanwhile, the total will stay 'under' because Virginia, after forcing a turnover, would rather pull the ball back and carefully select a shot than run up-and-down.

The Cavs' main offensive advantage will come from three. The Tar Heels defend the perimeter poorly, ranking 300th in opposing three-point percentage and opposing three-point attempts allowed. Virginia ranks 36th in three-point shooting behind Guy, Hall and forward Ty Jerome, who all rank in the top 400 in the category.

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