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Take North Carolina to Virginia Tech via Duke

This is March – one of the best sporting months of the year. Conference tournaments are in full swing, with the top-flight league tournaments poised to receive the baton to send us into full March madness.

Normally one of the most dominant and enduring conferences in basketball, the ACC has been turned on its head this year. There’s only one truly elite team in the league – Duke – but beyond that, the ACC has limited depth and underpowered.

While the Blue Devils are the clear No. 1 team in the ACC, it’s always difficult to gauge the motivation behind this program. Coach K has shown in the past that he wants to go into the NCAA tournament healthy.

I have no interest in Duke as a -130 favorite in a tournament format. Instead, I am adding an extra half unit to these two contenders to clinch the title at Barclays Center (odds by BetMGM).

North Carolina (10/1)

I thought North Carolina was one of the biggest wildcards, not just in the ACC, but in all of college basketball this season. That statement remains true as the heels scored one of the most stunning wins in my 20+ years of watching them.

Winning Coach K’s last home game at Cameron Indoor was impressive, but dominating the game, via ShotQuality, is even more impressive.

North Carolina is a talented team, but what makes this result shocking is the performance of the Tar Heels’ defense. Sure, Paolo Banchero had a layup drill every time he had one-on-one coverage, but that’s the price to pay if it means limiting Duke’s other weapons.

This is still a red hot, powerful offensive that can shoot itself into a run or shoot itself into an early exit in a tournament. The heels can compete with the best of them as they rank in the top 20 in AdjO.

If defense can continue to help offense, North Carolina will make for a very intriguing future play. This is especially true at 10/1 as you can hedge if the heels reach the ACC final.

Virginia Tech (9/1)

I will die on this hill. Virginia Tech is secretly one of the best teams in the ACC. I know it’s hard to believe based on the Hokies’ performance this season, but KenPom still has them as the second-best team in the conference

NCAA
Kevin Aluma of Virginia Tech
Getty Images

This is a very balanced team at both ends of the pitch. Virginia Tech ranks 28th in AdjO and 54th in AdjD. The Hokies ended the regular season with an ugly loss to Clemson, but before that they were on a three-game winning streak.

This team is still legit, but the Hokies are running out of time to put it all together. However, they still have my interest as they have the formula to beat Duke and other high profile offenses.

Virginia Tech’s playstyle isn’t pretty, but it does the job. This team wants to play as slowly as possible, limit their opponents’ shooting opportunities, and get shooters the ugly stares. The Hokies’ offense is clean and efficient, looking for the best possible shot.

I think Virginia Tech will put a run together making this a must see for me. The Hokies benefit from being in the bottom of the bracket and starting their run in the second round. You get a rematch game against Clemson or a tuneup against NC State.

If they can get past Notre Dame and play North Carolina in the semifinals, we have a guarantee that one of our futures will make it to the ACC Finals.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/08/acc-tournament-bets-take-north-carolina-va-tech-over-duke/ Take North Carolina to Virginia Tech via Duke

JOE HERNANDEZ

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