ACC Tournament Odds and College Basketball Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 3/9/2011
The ACC Tournament is generally one of the most competitive tournaments, and the atmosphere in Greensboro is always electric. North Carolina knocked off Duke last Saturday night to snag the top seed in this year’s tournament. While this is typically one of the strongest conferences in all of college basketball, the league had a down year this season. North Carolina and Duke are still very good, but once you get down to the middle and bottom of the ACC, this is a weak conference in 2011.
What does the overall weakness of the league mean for the tournament? It means that the usual suspects, Duke and North Carolina, will be heavy favorites. There are going to be several teams trying to prove they belong in the NCAA Tournament. There will also be plenty of teams that know they have no chance to get into the tournament without winning the ACC. It all gets started on Thursday afternoon when Virginia and Miami tipoff at noon EST.
Here are Doc’s Sports ACC Tournament odds (from Bookmaker) with some college basketball predictions for who we think will win the tournament.
The Favorite: Duke (+110) Duke has been king of this tournament for quite some time now, and I still think they are the team to beat in 2011. North Carolina won the regular season title, but this Duke team still has plenty of fight left for this postseason. Nolan Smith has consistently been great, but Kyle Singler has struggled down the stretch this year. Kyrie Irving was the perfect guard for this system, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be back for this tournament. The Blue Devils do everything well and they are strong defensively in the post.
The Contender: North Carolina (+140) North Carolina is certainly not short on talent this year. The Tar Heels are full of athleticism, but they are very inexperienced. Roy Williams has done a terrific job coaching this team. Most people didn’t think it was possible for North Carolina to win the ACC regular season title, but they pulled it off by winning seven straight games to finish the regular season. They’ll have plenty of fans cheering them on in Greensboro, and they are playing with more confidence than anyone in the league right now.
Sleeper: Virginia Tech (+2,600) The Hokies are in nearly the same position they have been in the last few years. Virginia Tech has narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament three straight years, and they are in danger of doing so again this season. They open with a key game against Georgia Tech, and they must win that game. This is a team that has shown it is capable of beating the best in the league, and they should be highly motivated this week.
The Matchups (Quarterfinals-Friday):
No. 1 North Carolina vs. Virginia/Miami Winner- The Virginia Cavaliers don’t have too much talent to work with, but Tony Bennett is getting everything out of them this year. Miami is an inconsistent team that has quite a few flaws. Neither one of these teams should be much of a threat to North Carolina on Friday afternoon.
No. 4 Clemson vs. Boston College/Wake Forest Winner- Since Wake Forest is absolutely horrendous, one would assume Boston College should find their way to the second round. Clemson is a team that is attempting to play their way into the NCAA Tournament, and this is a game they absolutely must win. I think the Tigers will handle their opponent Friday with their strong defense.
No. 2 Duke vs. Maryland/NC State Winner- Maryland should be expected to get through the first round, but their inconsistency this year means anything is possible. If the Terrapins do get past NC State, they do have the ability to give Duke a tough game. Maryland has a history of playing the Blue Devils well, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they gave them a scare in this game.
No. 3 Florida State vs. Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech Winner- The Seminoles would have been a much bigger threat to win this tournament if Chris Singleton were healthy. Without Singleton, they aren’t nearly as complete of a team. I expect Virginia Tech to beat Georgia Tech in the opening game, and I think the Hokies have a good shot at winning this one. Virginia Tech would likely be in the NCAA Tournament if they could win this game.
ACC Tournament Prediction: I’d like to step out there and call a huge upset winner, but I just don’t think it is going to happen this year in the top-heavy ACC. I think we’ll see Duke and North Carolina meet for the third time this year, and I expect Duke to emerge victorious.
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