The 7-0 dream was alive and well until about the 17 minute mark of the 2nd half when NC State would go on a five-plus minute scoring drought and go from being down three to down thirteen. Maybe I should have paid attention to the fact that Clemson did beat the Wolfpack by 39 points combined in their previous two meetings this year. Regardless, the chalk held as the top four seeds in the ACC Tournament have advanced. We’ve got a great semifinal and since there’s only two games, I’m going to give a pick against the spread and on the total. Anything to dig myself deeper or get back to .500, I guess.
After they struggled to pick up wins in their marquee matchups in the non-conference and with the ACC being down this year, people are just starting to notice this Duke team might be pretty good. They certainly put the country on notice with their 96-69 thrashing of Pittsburgh. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was impressed, but that was also a lot about a Pitt team that has overachieved.
Miami top to bottom is still the class of this league. I like them catching points as the number one seed and everyone rushing to crown the Blue Devils. For the total, I like the under. Duke plays a great defense and Miami is willing to slow things up when they’re away from home. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these teams go at each other blow for blow and the total go over, but given the stakes, I think each locks down and we get a solid and efficient half court game.
Pick: Miami +2.5 and Under 145.5
In the nightcap we get a rematch of a game we just saw 10 days ago when the Hoos were able to take care of business 64-57 in Charlottesville. This game will look a lot different for no other reason than Ben Vander Plas won’t be playing and Kadin Shedrick will. Shedrick played like a man with something to prove in Virginia’s quarterfinal win against UNC and should be just as essential against Clemson. Defensively, he’s another bigger body to throw at PJ Hall and Hunter Tyson and although Virginia’s offense takes a bit of a hit, I think it’s worth it to help stymie the Tigers.
However this one all comes down to Clemson’s three-point shooting. On the year, the Tigers shot over 37% from three, but in their six ACC losses, the Tigers only shot a combined 30% from deep. My main play in this game is on the under given Virginia can get back to their defensive roots without Vander Plas. But as for the spread, I think the Tigers can keep it close and I don’t trust UVA’s foul shooting late in games.
Pick: Under 128.5 and Clemson +3.5
Season Total: ATS (14-16), O/U (28-30), Total (42-46)