College Basketball: 2012 ACC Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 3/6/2012
It’s a pretty safe bet that either Duke or North Carolina is going to win the ACC Tournament.
Not only are these two of the Top 10 teams in the country but also the Blue Devils and Tar Heels have cut down the nets in this tourney in 15 of the last 16 years. That’s the definition of domination. And judging by the feeble state of the rest of this conference I don’t see anyone else in this field that can threaten the top dogs.
The ACC Tournament begins Thursday, March 8, and is being held at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Here are Doc’s Sports 2012 ACC Tournament predictions with betting odds:
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The Favorite: North Carolina (-175)
It is tough for a team with the profile of Carolina to do much quietly. But after a roller coaster year that saw them start the season as the no-doubt favorite to win the national title before being considered an afterthought because of injuries and lackluster play, the Tar Heels are back among the nation’s elite and are playing their best basketball of the season. The Heels are coming off an 18-point maiming of Duke at Cameron Indoor, avenging one of their only losses of the season, and they have won seven straight. Tyler Zeller, Ed Davis and Harrison Barnes form the best frontcourt in the country and the Heels simply overwhelm teams with their blitzkrieg scoring attack. UNC is not without weakness – their outside shooting is inconsistent – but they are clearly the class of this league.
The Contender: Duke (+150)
If you don’t know the primaries on this team you shouldn’t be betting on college basketball. Duke leans on a trio of guards – Austin Rivers, Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins – and a frontcourt threesome – Mason and Miles Plumlee, and Ryan Kelly – to wear down opponents. The Blue Devils have not lost an ACC Tournament game since 2008 and are looking for their fourth straight title. They should manhandle Clemson or Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals before a likely date with either Miami or Florida State, who are two of only five teams to top the Devils this year, in the semifinals. Until this team loses in this tournament they are impossible to bet against.
The Sleeper: Florida State (+800)
This Seminoles team is a real X-Factor in the ACC title race. At one point they entertained hopes of a regular season crown after beating both UNC and Duke back in January. But for every big win this team managed this year they have an equally bad loss, falling to teams like Harvard, Princeton and Boston College. FSU is a senior-laden team that relies on defense and toughness to win games. But their stay in Atlanta will be determined by how consistently they shoot the ball from behind the arc. Michael Snaer, Luke Loucks and Deivdas Dulkys are all streaky and at least two of them need to get hot if this team wants to advance.
The Spoiler: North Carolina State (+3000)
It is tough to tell how seriously to take this team. They have terrible guard play and have been a routine failure in their biggest games. But the Wolfpack still have a sliver of hope of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and they are one of the few teams in the league with the size to go toe-to-toe with the league’s top-tier. State made a surprise run to the semis in 2010 and to the finals in 2007 and should have no problem with Boston College in their opener. After that they get Virginia, who they lost to by just one point in the lone meeting this year.
No. 8 Maryland (-3.5) vs. No. 9 Wake Forest (Noon, Thursday, March 8)
The Terps are definitely backing into this tournament as losers of three straight and seven of 10. They have suffered through an injury-plagued year and their hopes of a strong run ended when point guard Pe’Shon Howard went out for the year in mid-February. They will lean on Terrell Stoglin, one of the top scorers in the country at 21.2 points per game, and some young talent. Wake Forest has won only 13 games this year but made some big strides from 2010. They have covered the spread in 8 of 13 games and they lost by only six in their lone meeting with Maryland. Wake employs the Princeton offense and that can always make for an active dog this time of year.
No. 5 North Carolina State (-13) vs. No. 12 Boston College (2 p.m., Thursday, March 8)
North Carolina State needs to make a statement here. They need to prove to the rest of the country that they deserve an NCAA bid and they need to prove to themselves that they are in Atlanta to play some serious basketball. Boston College is a young, terrible team and their last four losses have all come by 15 points or more. The Wolfpack swept the regular season series but won only by 14 and by five in the two matchups. The Eagles tried to shorten the game in the last meeting – running the shot clock and playing deliberately on offense – and will likely try to do the same again in this one.
No. 7 Clemson (+2.5) vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech (7 p.m., Thursday, March 8)
This is a surprise spread in the opening round of the ACC Tournament. Virginia Tech has won just four of its last 17 games and lost at Clemson last Thursday. Unlike past years, this group is not playing to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament so I wonder about their motivation. These two split their series, with the two games decided by a combined three points. Clemson has been playing well, winning five of seven, and they are better on the perimeter. Neither team has the goods to win two games, though, and the winner will square off with Duke in the next round.
No. 6 Miami (-6) vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech (9:30 p.m., Thursday, March 8)
This is an interesting game because Miami is another team that desperately needs to win in order to make a case for admission into the NCAA Tournament. They are playing a bad Yellow jackets team, but Tech has the advantage of playing in their backyard. The Jackets have won two of three – which is huge for a team that is just 4-15 going back to mid-December – and they would love to be a spoiler here. Miami won here by 15 points back on Jan. 14 and they are by far the more talented team. But can they avoid the mental lapses that have put them on the bubble in the first place?
2012 ACC Conference Tournament Predictions
I’d love to predict an upset here but the reality is that it is going to be another North Carolina-Duke rematch in the championship game. Virginia and Florida State are OK, and Miami can be adequate for spurts. But beyond that this is a horrendous conference right now. Carolina has dominated about 70 of the 80 minutes that they played against Duke this year and they have the edge in experience. I think that this tournament is UNC’s to lose and I can see them dominating their way to the crown and snapping Duke’s stranglehold on the ACC Title.
Robert Ferringo keeps proving himself to be one of the best college basketball handicappers in the nation. His college basketball picks have earned $100 bettors nearly $7,300 in the last two months. Another strong card is coming today and you can get his pick HERE for only $30.
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