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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM

North Carolina certainly re-established some dominance at the top of the ACC with Saturday’s blowout of the Miami Hurricanes. Those two were tied for first place going in. Carolina bounced back so strong from their home loss to Duke that you now have to assume they’ll be able to hold on for the regular season title and the #1 seed in the ACC tournament.

Who’s going to be #2? Right now Virginia, Miami, and Louisville are all tied for second place in the ACC standings…as you see below…


ACC Standings

North Carolina 11-3

Virginia 10-4

Miami 10-4

Louisville 10-4

Duke 9-5

Notre Dame 9-5

Clemson 9-6

Pittsburgh 8-6

Syracuse 8-7

Everyone Else below .500

Louisville has self-imposed a ban on for the coming postseason, which means it can’t be the Cardinals! We have a Big Monday matchup this evening between Virginia and Miami that will go a long way toward determining the league runner-up. Let’s crunch JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see how the game will likely play out…


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Virginia: 117.1 per 100 possessions (#14 in the nation)

Miami: 115.1 per 100 possessions (#21 in the nation)

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Virginia is a defensive team that can’t score. They play at a very slow pace…which too many in the mainstream media haven’t learned how to deal with yet. Ken Pomeroy’s “adjusted” numbers that account for pace and strength of schedule show that Virginia is top 15 in terms of efficiency. This is why they’re 21-5! They don’t have a bad offense…they just play slow basketball. Miami is very much in the same boat. The Hurricanes are also 21-5…but are slightly less efficient while playing at a slightly faster (but still slow) pace. This is likely to be a very slow-paced game on ESPN this evening. Be ready for a wrestling match where both teams try to work patiently for good looks.


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Virginia: 92.0 per 100 possessions (#6 in the nation)

Miami: 95.7 per 100 possessions (#34 in the nation)

Worth noting that both teams play well defensively within that slow context. Virginia gets stops! It has to frustrate most opponents that they have to slow down, and then they still can’t get a good shot off. Similar story here for Miami…much like Virginia but not as good as Virginia once you make the proper adjustments. (Also, keep in the back of your mind that Pomeroy’s methodology has seemingly overrated BOTH of these teams in terms of recent Dance potential. Has the ACC worsened so much that it’s top teams become overrated?)


Pace Ranking

Virginia: #350

Miami: #255

We can’t really call this must-see TV because it’s going to be painful to watch. Be sure you at least check out the last 10 minutes! That’s going to be playoff-style basketball featuring two teams who are projected to go deep in the ACC tournament (seeded for the semifinals) and the NCAA Tournament (seeded for the Sweet 16 most likely, with Virginia possibly being seeded for the Elite Eight). Important for your scouting efforts at the very least.


Against the Spread

Virginia: 12-12 ATS

Miami: 15-9-1 ATS (9-3 ATS at home)

So far in this preview, Miami has mostly been taking the worst of it. Here’s where they have a shot to win and cover. The Hurricanes have been a 75% cover team on their home floor. Yes, they just got waxed in Chapel Hill. But, that sets up a bounce-back spot Monday at their preferred site. This could be a peak performance for Miami because so much is at stake in an obvious gut-check spot. Frankly, if they get embarrassed here, you can probably assume the Hurricanes won’t be much of a factor in March. Bullying bad teams while getting outclassed by good teams is a red flag for a tournament pretender.

Should Virginia/Miami be on your personal Las Vegas betting ticket? Don’t make a move until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say! You can purchase the final word for all Monday basketball 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 all the conference tournaments and March Madness.

We’ll be checking in on Virginia again very soon, because they get North Carolina this Saturday. Here’s what’s coming up in the NOTEBOOK…

Tuesday-Wednesday: Villanova at Xavier Wednesday in the Big East

Thursday-Friday: Cleveland at Toronto Friday in the NBA (Eastern Finals preview?)

Saturday: North Carolina at Virginia in the ACC

Sunday-Monday: Kansas at Texas Monday in the Big 12

We’ll keep taking you across the national landscape to study the most important major conference games. Look for some special appearances by NBA contenders as well down the stretch run. Handicapping help here in the NOTEBOOK…and then BIG, JUICY WINNERS when you hook up with JIM HURLEY’s NETWORK!


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