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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 7:00 PM

The NFL Playoffs will take a few days off before the Divisional Round puts the elite eight on the field this Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime, we’ll be focusing on blockbuster college basketball matchups here in the NOTEBOOK as we begin our transition to winter coverage.

1 more college football game (next Monday when Oregon faces Ohio State)

7 more NFL Playoff games (culminating in the Super Bowl)

A whole bunch of basketball!!

Though Kentucky is doing its best to establish itself as head and shoulders above the sport thus far, there are several very exciting races about to play out in major conferences across the land. We’ll focus on the ACC Monday Night, when a pair of nationally ranked teams square off in Chapel Hill in a game you’ll be watching on ESPN.

Notre Dame is currently ahead of North Carolina in the polls. But, most respected Power Ratings approaches have it the other way round…with Carolina as the clearly superior team. Big test for BOTH teams and the various evaluation systems on a BIG MONDAY! Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S favorite basketball indicators stats, posted publicly by college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy, have to say about the matchup…


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Notre Dame: 117.9 per 100 possessions (#2 in the nation)

N.  Carolina: 111.4 per 100 possessions (#18 in the nation)

Pomeroy adjusts for pace and schedule strength to try and get as pure a read on offense as possible. When you do that, Notre Dame grades out extremely well this season. Their slow pace hides this from the media. On a possession-by-possession basis, the Irish are very efficient at getting points on the board. North Carolina usually grades out well here because they attack the basket and earn free throw attempts. To this point, edge to Notre Dame.


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Notre Dame: 99.5 per 100 possessions (#157 in the nation)

N.  Carolina: 89.0 per 100 possessions (#10 in the nation)

On this side of the floor though, we have a complete reversal. Notre Dame’s slow pace creates the illusion of defense. It’s still very easy to score on this team if you’re patient and work for a good shot. That’s always been their Kryptonite in big games in the past, particularly if they make the Dance. Dance caliber teams embarrass Mike Brey defenses! North Carolina’s fast pace hides their defensive athleticism. Once you make the proper adjustments, the Heels become a top 10 defense. Huge edge to Carolina here…and the driving force why most analytics have them as the superior team.


Pace Ranking

Notre Dame: #229

N.  Carolina: #13

Here’s what we mean about pace creating illusions. North Carolina is one of the fastest teams in the country. Notre Dame isn’t as slow as they used to be, but is still below average. Don’t let your handicapping be fooled by tempo!


Against the Spread

Notre Dame: 4-3 ATS (5-0 to the Over)

N.  Carolina: 10-4 ATS

A very tricky factor comes into play here. Notre Dame is 14-1 straight up this season, but only 4-3 against the spread. That means about half of their games weren’t even on the board! They’ve played a garbage schedule that may or may not be disguising the team’s true abilities. Notre Dame did beat Michigan State (though they had to go overtime as a 3-point favorite). And, they did win recent blowouts over Purdue and Florida State. So, you can’t call them a total pretender by any means. But, they’re probably not as good as that 14-1 record indicates! Note that the Irish were favored by -12 this past Saturday at home against Georgia Tech, and had to go overtime to win. Maybe they were looking ahead to Carolina.

Let’s also note that the market has been slow to notice Notre Dame’s great offense/lousy defense tendency, which has resulted in 100% Overs in the five totals that have gone up in their games.

North Carolina has mixed some high profile non-covers with a string of strong performances in a way that’s befuddled the market. A high profile team like UNC isn’t supposed to go 10-4 ATS! But, they lost an early TV game to Butler…then got stunned in the Big 10/ACC Challenge at home by Iowa…and then couldn’t hang with Kentucky in a huge TV spot. Everyone watching THOSE games fell prey to understating the Heels the rest of the time. Carolina is 10-1 ATS outside of those high profile flops.

JIM HURLEY knows that Monday Nights are critical to your personal Las Vegas betting even when football season turns into basketball season. He’ll do whatever he can to make sure you get the right plays from tonight’s busy schedule (that also includes Okahoma/Texas on ESPN, Indiana/Michigan State on the Big 10 Network, and 11 games in the NBA!). You can purchase the final word for Monday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office Sunday morning at 1-888-777-4155.

More basketball the next two days in the NOTEBOOK before the NFL returns. Here’s what’s on tap.

Tuesday: College Hoops Preview…Villanova at St. John’s

Wednesday: College Hoops Preview…Kansas at Baylor

Thursday-Sunday: NFL Divisional Round Previews

Monday: College Football Championship Preview…Oregon vs. Ohio State

Build your bankrolls for that dream weekend of pro and college football with our basketball blockbusters. The more you win now…the more you win this weekend because you’re going to GET THE MONEY and keep PILING IT UP with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

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