Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 7:00 PM
So much has happened in the ACC while you were counting down to Super Bowl 50! The NFL season has now been wrapped up in a nice big bow. Let’s get you caught up on important developments in the ACC heading into Big Monday’s clash between the Louisville Cardinals and the Duke Blue Devils.
*First…Louisville announced they were putting themselves on probation! The players are now aware that there’s NO POSTSEASON coming up in a month. Apparently there was a lot of real fire instead of just smoke to that prostitution scandal. The program wanted to take command of its own punishment before the NCAA hit them even harder. For handicapping purposes, that means Louisville ONLY has a regular season championship on their minds. THAT’S the goal for 2015-16…and beating Duke on the road will go a long way towards helping them achieve that.
*Also helping them achieve that…North Carolina blew a seemingly comfortable halftime lead this past Saturday night to lose on the road at Notre Dame. Hope you didn’t turn the game off at halftime! Easy to do since ESPN was so obsessed with making sure you knew Oklahoma City/Golden State was on next. That loss dropped Carolina into a tie for first place with Louisville. Both are 8-2 in the current standings (listing just those at 6-4 or better below…)
North Carolina 8-2
Notre Dame 7-4
Took awhile to find Duke, didn’t it? Believe it or not, Louisville/Duke is shaping up as a 1-8 or 2-7 type matchup in the ACC Tournament. Of course, Louisville won’t be going to that this year! But, this gives you a sense of how well Louisville has been playing by ACC standards…and how much Duke has fallen off last year’s pace.
Let’s run the matchup through some of JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats…
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Louisville: 111.5 per 100 possessions (#41 in the nation)
Duke: 122.9 per 100 possessions (#2 in the nation)
Duke still has a great offense, even if defense and depth are a big problem. Those rankings are from Ken Pomeroy’s analytics website, and are adjusted for strength of schedule and pace. Duke does a great job of making the most of their opportunities. Louisville is good by national standards…but might have had some issues in the Dance because that’s not a great grading for an elite team.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Louisville: 89.7 per 100 possessions (#3 in the nation)
Duke: 101.7 per 100 possessions (#137 in the nation)
This is why Louisville would have been on the short list of potential National Championship contenders if they hadn’t fallen on their own sword. Rick Pitino is still great at teaching and coaching defense, which is something we’ve been emphasizing for years to you here in the NOTEBOOK. Duke’s defense was soft at complete strength. With a short bench, the starters have to back off even more to avoid foul trouble. Huge edge in this category to the Cards…and a bigger edge than Duke has on offense.
Duke is slower than in the past because they can’t afford to wear out their starters. Louisville is slower than average because it helps their defense stay fresh and get set up. Tough here because Duke would normally try to take Louisville out of its comfort zone with a fast pace. But, if that just kills their own legs…then Duke would get bullied over the last 10 minutes. We’ll likely see a halfcourt game most of the night. Duke will have to figure out a way to score more than they allow against this superb Louisville defense.
Against the Spread
Louisville: 10-9 ATS
Duke: 10-11-1 ATS
Duke’s been in a bit of a slump lately, which has brought them back down below breakeven. Louisville has trouble winning “big” because of their pace and generic offense. That makes it harder to post a great ATS record for respected programs. Versus lesser lights, Pitino is trying to win rather than win blowouts.
What’s going to happen in this fascinating ACC clash? You’ll have to sign up with NETWORK to find out! You can purchase JIM HURLEY’S daily basketball BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Lock in now for great rates through March Madness.
More great college basketball matchups on tap this week in the NOTEBOOK…
Tuesday: Preview…West Virginia at Kansas
Midweek: Preview…Iowa at Indiana (Thursday night)
Friday-Saturday: Preview…Kansas at Oklahoma
Sunday: Preview…USC at Arizona
Football is over…but plenty of Las Vegas betting thrills are still ahead as we work our way to the Big Dance. You’ll really get a feel for that this week as we march through the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, and Pac 12 on these pages. Make a break for the basket…then go DUNKING FOR DOLLARS with JIM HURLEY’s NETWORK!
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