NCAA Basketball Picks: Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest to Kick Off ACC Tournament

Matthew Jordan

Monday, March 9, 2015 6:11 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 9, 2015 6:11 PM GMT

There will be no postseason basketball for Virginia Tech or Wake Forest beyond the ACC Tournament so the loser of Tuesday's game in Greensboro see its season end. The Deacons opened as 4.5-point favorites on BetOnline NCAA basketball odds.

Work Ahead for Williams
Virginia Tech seemed to have a great offseason as it was rather surprisingly able to lure Buzz Williams away from Marquette to be the Hokies' new head coach. Of course it helps that Tech offered Williams a seven-year, $18 million contract, but it's still perhaps the worst job in the ACC as Tech will always be a football school first. It's not even close to the top job in its own state as that is at UVA. Shoot, VCU and Richmond probably are better gigs.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Virginia Tech (10-21, 2-16) won't be winning the ACC Tournament so the Hokies will miss out on the Big Dance for an eighth straight year. Maybe Williams can turn the program around, but it's a long climb. Tech enters this one having lost seven straight and 10 of 11. The Hokies were routed by visiting Miami (Fla.) 82-61 in the regular-season finale. That ensured that Tech was the No. 14 seed in the ACC Tournament. That's last -- only 14 teams because Syracuse instituted a postseason ban on itself.

Junior guard Adam Smith leads Tech in scoring at 13.7 points per game. Freshman Justin Bibbs is second at 11.8 per game. Tech is among the worst rebounding teams in the country, pulling down only 29.8 boards per game (336th nationally).

The Hokies are 13-12 against the NCAA Basketball odds this season and 14-8 'over/under.'


Wake's Best Player? Maybe Its Coach
Wake Forest, which will miss the NCAA tournament for a fifth straight season, is a tough gig in its own right because it's such a small, private school and obviously deeply in the  shadows of North Carolina, Duke and NC State. This was the first season for head coach Danny Manning, the former star and national champion at Kansas and No.  1 overall NBA draft pick. He replaced Jeff Bzdelik, who was forced out after going 51-76 overall and 17-51 in ACC play over four seasons. Manning coached Tulsa to an NCAA Tournament berth last season and was an assistant at Kansas for six years before that under Bill Self. Manning attended high school in North Carolina.

The Demon Deacons (13-18, 5-13) are the No. 11 seed in the ACC and closed the season losing two straight and five of six. They were destroyed last Tuesday at Duke and then closed it out with a 79-61 loss at Boston College on Saturday. Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 24 for Wake Forest. The junior guard was named honorable mention All-ACC. Miller-McIntyre leads the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and assists (4.1 apg), and ranks second in rebounding (4.8 rpg), steals (1.0 spg) and field-goal percentage (44.9). He ranks 12th in the ACC in scoring and 10th in field-goal percentage. He had seven games during ACC play of at least 20 points and had two triple-doubles overall this season. Miller-McIntyre is the first Wake player with a triple-double since a guy named Tim Duncan. Wake's Devin Thomas is tied for the ACC lead with 12 double-doubles on the season.

Wake Forest was 13-12-1 against the spread this season and 16-8 'over/under' on NCAA Basketball odds. The Wake-Tech winner faces sixth-seeded Miami on Wednesday.


Season Series
The schools played once. Wake was an 8-point home favorite at sportsbooks on Jan. 31 and won 73-70 to end a four-game losing streak. Miller-McIntyre led the way with 19 points, while Dinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin each scored 15. Manning opted not to foul in the final seconds and perhaps not allow Tech to get off a 3-point try. It almost backfired as Bibbs got an open look from the corner but missed. The rebound went off a Wake player with 0.4 seconds left. Tech's Devin Wilson inbounded it to Ahmed Hill, who couldn't get off a shot at the buzzer. Smith scored 12 points to lead Virginia Tech. The Deacons have won three straight and four of the past five meetings in the series.


NCAAB Free Pick: Wake is probably a bit better than its record as it had several close losses this season, including two in overtime (at Syracuse and in double OT at Florida State) and by just one at Virginia. Take the Deacons with your NCAA Basketball Picks. Tech is 2-5 ATS in its past seven games. Wake has covered four of the past six meetings. 

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