Boy was last Saturday’s buzzer beater defeat against Florida State a stake right in the heart. Not only did the loss ruin any chance of a Virginia’s NCAA Tournament at-large bid, it also caused the game total to go one half point over the 126.5 Over/Under. Then, to add insult to injury, a fluke tipped pass allowed VaTech to shoot a late three pointer and not only win the game, but also take away Miami’s cover. Talk about bad beats to the heart and wallet. Regardless, we press along. Seven more games to finish out the ACC Regular Season. .500 is still in sights, but its going to take great weekend to get there. Let’s see if we can get it done.
Despite these two teams being notorious for playing slow, suffocating defense and relying on efficient offense, Virginia and Louisville have generally played higher scoring games than one might imagine. Add to that both defenses aren’t as good as in “normal” years and on the surface this total is too low. However, Virginia is a much different team away from JPJ and Louisville struggles offensively in all the areas where you need to attack Virginia’s defense. They don’t shoot it well from three, they don’t get second chances on the offensive glass, and they don’t push the issue and get to the foul line. All that sets up for a slog and a game I like under.
Pick: Under 125.5
After coming up with wins over Florida State and NC State, the Eagles came crashing back to earth with losses at the hands of Clemson and Miami. Georgia Tech, meanwhile has lost its last four, but outside of a bludgeoning at the hands of Notre Dame has been relatively competitive. As I generally do in matchups of bad teams, I’m going to rely on home court and the fact that Georgia Tech has the best player on the floor in Michael Devoe.
Pick: Georgia Tech -3
As i sat down to write this column, the line was hovering right around 154. At that point I was coming up with my angle to take the under. Syracuse has been relatively pedestrian (for them) on offense, scoring in the low to mid 70s. Miami as well, hasn’t been lighting up the scoreboard as they did earlier in the year. Therefore, I was having a hard time coming up with a storyline for a 78-76 game. But with the total now down to 150.5 I’m actually leaning the over. I know it’s only 3.5 points, but both of these teams are capable of scoring in the 80s and taking an under where I’d have to rely on both teams scoring under 75 was a bit daunting.
Pick: Over 150.5
Playing against any team with a semblance of defense or a team that likes to slow things down, Clemson has struggled to score higher than the lower 60s. The same can be said for VaTech on the road. Clemson is still playing without some key players and Virginia Tech should be able to control this one and keep things under wraps.
Pick: Under 134.5
Of course Florida State came into JPJ and pulled out a miraculous victory last week. Of course they’ve now won two in a row including a win over Notre Dame. I’m not buying it. NC State isn’t good, but the Seminoles shouldn’t be laying seven points to anyone this year. Plug your nose and take the points.
Pick: NC State +7
Pittsburgh Panthers @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish
DraftKings Sportsbook: Notre Dame -12.5; Over/Under 130.5
Outside of what they did to Georgia Tech last week, I don’t feel Notre Dame is the type of team who’s going to run away from their opponent. Especially in a game with the total just north of the 120s. Pitt can muck it up just enough to keep this one in check. Laying 12.5 is just a few too many points.
Pick: Pitt +12.5
And now onto the headliner of the night, Coach K’s farewell in Cameron Indoor Stadium. I’m having a hard time picking an angle for this one. Both teams are very capable of putting up lots of points, however both have found themselves in relatively low scoring games. But it’s Duke and North Carolina and generally these two teams leave their defenses at the door. In their last meeting, Duke blew the doors off the Tar Heels winning by 20. I don’t see that happening again. I don’t think Duke gets to 87 again unless they bring the ‘Heels with them and I don’t see another scenario where UNC only scores 67. Therefore, give me the points in a rivalry game that isn’t usually as lopsided as the first matchup.
Pick: UNC +11
Season Totals: ATS (12-21), O/U (17-12), Total (29-33)