The ACC Tournament in Greensboro continues on Wednesday when rivals Florida State and Clemson square off in a college basketball odds battle to see who meets top seed Virginia.
If we were to hop in a time machine and venture back to last October, we'd see the Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers both pegged as 15/1 long shots on the NCAA futures odds to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. Of course, we'd also see Notre Dame behind them at 18/1, and the Fighting Irish are sitting 11th in the country now while the Seminoles and Tigers are in the bottom half of the conference standings.
So much for the accuracy of preseason polls.
Those futures actually proved pretty accurate when it comes to Clemson and Florida State who meet Wednesday as 8/9 seeds, respectively, in the ACC tourney. Tip off is a little past noon on ESPN for what has developed into a pick 'em on the NCAA Basketball odds at a couple of sports books. Others have Clemson -1 with a total in the low-mid 120s expected to be released later this morning.
Rubber Match Marks 8th ACC Tourney Clash Between Teams
It's appropriate for these rivals to go at it in the tournament after meeting at least twice each regular season since the mid-90s. Wednesday's tussle is the 67th in the series, Florida State holding a 36-30 advantage.
Seven of those matchups have come in previous ACC Tournaments, most recently in 2013 when the Seminoles got past the Tigers, 73-69. Florida State has won the last four conference tourney clashes to build a 5-2 record in the postseason. Four of the last six in the league tournament went 'over' the totals while the underdog won outright four times.
The Tigers and Seminoles split this season's two confrontations, each scoring underdog upsets on the road. Both games fell short of identical 124½ point scoreboard hurdles.
Bettors Loved 'Noles During Regular Season
No, it wasn't a very good year for Leonard Hamilton and Florida State (16-15 straight up, 16-12 against the spread). The Seminoles lost three in a row very early on the schedule to Northeaster, Providence and UMass, the latter two setbacks coming in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic, and were walloped by Notre Dame in both teams' ACC opener two weeks before Christmas.
Florida State would eventually stand 1-4 in conference play, and chances for an NCAA Tournament invite were pretty much shot by then. The Seminoles currently sit 118th in RPI, a little better at 86 on the BPI.
The poor season wasn't necessarily felt by college basketball bettors, however, at least after the Seminoles got off to that 1-4 start in the ACC race. Florida State backers have held winning tickets in all but two of the games since then, eight of the 13 subsequent contests also winners for 'under' bettors.
Tigers Close Campaign Dropping 4 Of Last 5
Clemson (16-14 SU, 13-13 ATS) also got off to a slow start on the league fixture with three setbacks among the first four after going 8-4 on the non-conference schedule. Brad Brownell's bunch then seemed to find a groove in winning five of their next six ACC encounters capped by the 62-56 road upset at Florida State to begin February.
Things went south from there, the Tigers dropping six of the final eight matchups, two of those to Notre Dame and the only two victories coming against lowly Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
One thing both teams do well is play defense, which sets up an interesting matchup for whichever team advances to play the very defensive-minded -- and top seeded -- Virginia Cavaliers on Thursday. 'Under' is where I'm looking to make my free NCAA Basketball pick for this one.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida State-Clemson Under
Season: 67-58-2 (+3.2)