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We’ve made it, folks. That’s right the conference tournaments are starting this week and I’m here to break down what we should focus on for specific tournaments. This is the lead up to the big dance and as the teams go through this you’ll start to see the bracket take shape and build up. We are going to start here with the ACC tournament, one that saw a lot of competitive basketball, but only has a few teams ranked in the top 25.
The betting market seems to think that Duke is going win the tournament and have placed them as the favorite with a +280 line. That might just be due to them being such a public team, but no matter the reason, I won’t be backing them. They were a respectable 14-6, but they lost to Clemson, Miami, and Virginia – all three are ahead of them in the bracket. They certainly have the talent, and are on a six game winning streak, but I don’t know that this is the team to support right now. Most of their success has come at home and now they won’t have that comfort.
Miami is my favorite for this tournament at +340. They have the #1 seed in the tournament their first matchup will either be Syracuse or Wake Forest. They won both games against them, but both games were very close. What concerns me about that is they both were at home and they couldn’t control the game well enough to win comfortably. Miami has the offense, and defense to get it done, but they aren’t and overly tested group. They are fairly hot though as they have won eight of their past nine games.
Virginia is the second favorite for the tournament with a line of +300. The Cavaliers have had a good season and were 15-5 in conference games this year. They come in as the second seed in the bracket as well and are the only other team in the top-25 rankings. Their first game is likely going to be against North Carolina, a team that recently beat them. North Carolina also needs to do well in this tournament or they stand to be the first team since the tournament expanded that was preseason #1 and not make the tournament. So, there is a lot of need for them to succeed in this and that isn’t good for Virginia. I won’t be betting on them.
If I had to pick a longshot, I’d maybe consider North Carolina at +600. I’m not sure that is much of a longshot as they have the fourth-best odds with Clemson. I already laid out the need for them to succeed in the tournament though. Pittsburgh is a really talented team and at +1400 it is conceivable that they can win this one. I think if anything they are worth a sprinkle.
Ultimately, I think Miami is the best bet here, but you could make an argument for any of the top five or six teams. I’ll back Miami and put the sprinkle on Pitt.
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