With New Year’s behind us and the College Football National Championship set for Monday night we’re almost all the way into college basketball season. This weekend gives us our typical seven game ACC slate, so let’s not waste any more time and get on to the picks.
As far as this season is concerned, both these teams have been disappointments in my mind. You can chalk up North Carolina’s disappointment due to lofty expectations, but I’m not sure what’s going on with Notre Dame. I just don’t feel comfortable laying this many points at home with the Tar Heels. They don’t do anything that is particularly amazing and Notre Dame has an ability to muck games up when they have to and they shoot the three well enough to keep any game from getting out of hand.
Pick: Notre Dame +13
I don’t think you can argue that this Duke team looks a lot different from the last bajillion years. However I keep thinking they’re games are lowing scoring that they typically are. Perhaps it’s because we’re used to seeing Duke game totals in the high 130s on the regular that when most games are played in the low to mid-60s it looks different. They’re playing “better” defense with a more deliberate pace, but don’t mistake these for slow games. I think the total is about right, so as long as Boston College can score around 60, I think this one goes over.
Pick: Over 133
Just when I think it’s safe to believe in Florida State again, they lay an egg in Cameron Indoor. I still think the Seminoles are better than what they’ve shown this year and they’re going to be a pest for even the best teams in the ACC, but I can’t trust them yet. Georgia Tech is coming off a nice home win over Miami, but offensively they’re not great at anything. Both teams are slow on the defensive end, so 144 seems like a lot.
Pick: Under 144.5
We got a lucky cover last week as Louisville was able to sneak in and lose by 23 instead of 24 against Kentucky, but they proved competitive in a one point loss during the week to Syracuse. I like the Deacs here to be able to take advantage of turnovers and get the win, but I’m looking at the under. Wake Forest is a different team on the road exceeding 75 points in only 2 of 7 games away from Winston Salem this year, something they’ll have to do if they cover the spread and the total. Louisville will want to shorten the game and won’t provide much help offensively to get this total over.
Pick: Under 142
Just like we all expected, we get a January meeting between undefeated ACC powerhouses Clemson and Pittsburgh. Both teams are 4-0 in the conference, but are either of them for real? Both have wins over NC State. Clemson got a nice road win in Blacksburg, while Pitt has homes wins over Virginia and North Carolina. I think the Panthers keep it going. They have a history of being a good basketball environment and they showed that this week hosting the Hoos. If they can ride that momentum for another week, I think it’s enough to take down the Tigers by three.
Pick: Pittsburgh -2.5
Last week I wrote up my pick for the ‘Cuse and then went with the opposite. It worked, so let’s run it back. Virginia’s defense just isn’t the same this season. Generally, even when the Hoos don’t have it rolling on offense, they can hang their hat on the defensive end. A game like the one they played against Pittsburgh should have been over once Virginia built their lead in the first half. Virginia can’t afford any lapses against Syracuse who will guard you hard and push the tempo given the opportunity. Therefore, I like this total over.
Pick: Under 128
In a game of something’s gotta give, we have the uptempo Wolfpack visiting the deliberate Hokies. VaTech will run with a team, but I still like their style to prevail. I expect NC State to come in with a little bit of a letdown after they demolished Duke earlier this week. I do like the Hokies to win, but the 5.5 is a couple points too many. So, I’m looking under as 144 goes too much in favor of NC State’s game.
Pick: Under 144.5
Season Total: ATS (3-7-0), O/U (10-8-0), Total (13-15-0)