NCAA Basketball Picks: Florida State vs. Virginia in ACC Tournament Quarterfinals

Doug Upstone

Thursday, March 12, 2015 11:59 AM GMT

The top four seeds arrive in Greensboro, N.C. today, starting with No. 1 Virginia who will tip off first and they have been established as large favorites by the sportsbooks against Florida State. 

Will the Cavaliers stifling defense suffocate the Seminoles and make them a trendy play for college basketball picks or does Florida State’s ruggedness matchup catching double digits?

Let’s look at all the scenarios to consider for the high noon tip Eastern Time.

 

Virginia wins and covers because...
Their defense can completely stifle the opposition. Tony Bennett’s defense has surrendered the fewest points in college basketball at 50.3 points a game and finished third in field goal percentage defense at 35.8 percent.

The strategy they employ is five guys knowing where the ball is at all times and keeping themselves in constant contact with their man. This coordinated discipline might not make ESPN highlight’s but any college basketball handicapper generating sports picks loves what Virginia does on the defensive end and also how effective they are in being in excellent defensive rebounding position.

Away from Charlottesville, Virginia was 13-1 and 10-4 ATS and if you go back to the start of 2014, the Wahoos are 20-6 ATS on the road. Virginia wins but fails to cover because ….since the loss of second-leading scorer Justin Anderson, they are 0-3-1 ATS when doling out double digit betting odds, after being 6-5 ATS before his departure. The defense does not noticeably sag, but the offense, which is not stellar to begin with, can have prolonged dry spells.

You might have noticed I’m not considering an outright upset and I can make that call because of the Cavs defense and the fact the top seed has made ACC Finals 18 of the past 23 years. Despite their sparkling 28-2 record, Virginia can make bettors squirm in their seats and fail to beat the spread.

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Florida State covers the spread because…
They follow the same type of plan which has allowed them to be 12-2 ATS since Jan. 19th. The Seminoles have done a much better job in taking quality shots down the stretch and valuing each possession. When you face Virginia this is imperative.

 

Florida State has to also climb the boards and not depend on being athletic to rebound, rather work and fight for position and possibly pick up cheap fouls which could work against Virginia. Since a brutal showing against Notre Dame back in December where they lost by 20 points, the Noles are 4-1 ATS when on the receiving end of 10 or more points.

 

Florida State fails to cover the spread by….
Becoming impatient when things don’t go their way. It is a foregone conclusion the Seminoles will have empty trips against the Cavaliers defense and they will need to focus on the other end of the floor to prevent baskets. If they are tight after not scoring a few times and Virginia bolts to say a 10-point first half lead, if the Noles react poorly, the deficit could balloon to 16 and they do not have the firepower to shoot their way back in the game.

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What to Expect
Once Florida State survived itself and Clemson, sportsbooks made the NCAA Basketball odds Virginia at -11.5 and by nightfall it was up to -12.5 and -13 this morning

The Seminoles covered the lone other matchup, falling 51-41 a 15-point road underdogs. Florida State must maintain their poise and based on recent play particularly against the spread, they can accomplish this.

Also, being two-time defending ACC champs and having won this tournament a year ago, the Cavaliers might be looking ahead to bigger fish and we found the previous champions are just 1-13 ATS in their first contest the following year.

NCAA Basketball Pick – Florida State +13 at BetOnline