How much fun was last night. ACC basketball in November might be my new favorite thing. And better yet, we get our Hoos tonight. Just gotta make sure the picks are better.
A lot will be made of who Virginia loses from the team that won last year’s National Championship (hey, remember when Virginia won the National Championship last year?) and it is certainly massive. But what about Syracuse? They lost four starters from a team that didn’t win the National Championship a season ago. It’s not ideal to open your season on the road against a team with a pedigree like Syracuse, but given where Virginia’s program is, they should be able to win on the road against middling ACC programs. And that’s what Syracuse is.
Pick: Virginia -3
I love Florida State this season and think they could have a shot at cracking the top-4 in the ACC. Pitt too should be improved as well. The talent level in Pittsburgh has increased immeasurably under Jeff Capel with Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowans leading the way. I like the 4.5 points the Panthers are getting, but could also see Florida leaving no doubt like Louisville did against Miami last night. Either way, I think there’s going to be some offense in this one, so the over is the call.
Pick: Over 143.5
HOT TAKE ALERT. North Carolina won’t finish in the Top-4 of the ACC this season. And Notre Dame will. But...North Carolina will win this game. I think North Carolina is fine, Roy Williams is one of my favorite coaches in the ACC (non-Tony Bennett Division), and Cole Anthony may be the best freshman in the country. But for as good as Cole Anthony will be, I don’t think he makes their team better. Notre Dame on the other hand will win as a team. After a down year, Mike Bray will have his team competitive night in night out and Rex Pflueger’s return will give them a spark. While I’d like to call the upset in game one, I can’t. But ten points is plenty for the Irish to get the cover.
Pick: Notre Dame +10
Say what you want, but I’ve gotta hand it to the ACC Network for actually scheduling compelling matchups for the debut of it’s 2019 baskeball coverage. I’d rather watch these two teams duke it out than have one of these teams play a team in the top half of the league. Going down each team’s roster, I like some of the pieces coming back. However each lost it’s best player meaning the guys returning remind me of their teams from last year...just without Ky Bowman and Jaylen Hoard. That’s not good. That being said, I think Bowman’s departure means more for Boston College than Hoard’s does for Wake Forest. A young nucleus, one year older has me liking the Deacs on the road.
Pick: Wake Forest +2.5
Season Total: ATS (1-2), O/U (0-1), Total (1-3)