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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:00 PM

The competitive nature of college basketball can create some odd occurrences late in a college basketball season. For example, Virginia is currently the #3 team in the country according to the AP poll…but is only tied for #4 in the ACC standings! How can you be third best in the nation if you’re fourth best in your conference?!

You can’t. So, we can be pretty sure Virginia isn’t the #3 team in the country after this past Monday’s loss to Miami. Are they still at least top eight, like the most respected computers are suggesting? Or, are they just another of the “names in a hat” that needs to get lucky late in close games to advance through a tournament?

They didn’t enjoy that luck in recent losses at Duke and Miami. Maybe home court advantage will help when the Tar Heels come calling. Let’s quickly review the current league standings before jumping into JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats…

 

ACC STANDINGS

North Carolina 12-3

Miami 11-4

Louisville 11-4

Virginia 10-5

Duke 10-5

Notre Dame 10-5

Clemson 9-7

Pittsburgh 8-7

Syracuse 8-7

Everyone else below .500

North Carolina wants to win out to claim the regular season title. It should be too early for them to be thinking about next Saturday’s revenge battle with Duke. There’s no revenge issue in NC/Virginia because this is the only regular season meeting between the Heels and Cavaliers. Virginia is in danger of falling down to #6 in the league with a loss. If you assume it’s going to take at least 14-4 to win the ACC, then Virginia is already locked out. Maybe we’ll have a logjam at 13-5!

 

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

North Carolina: 119.8 per 100 possessions (#5 in the nation)

Virginia: 117.7 per 100 possessions (#11 in the nation)

The conundrum with Virginia is that they’re seen as having a horrible offense even though they’re actually very efficient. They play low scoring games because of pace. But, they do abuse undisciplined defenses, and make the most of bonus opportunities that arise. Still, versus good defenses they can look pretty helpless. They just pass the ball around and a good look never comes up. Slight edge to North Carolina, who attacks the basket to earn a ton of free throw attempts.

 

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

North Carolina: 95.7 per 100 possessions (#30 in the nation)

Virginia: 92.7 per 100 possessions (#9 in the nation)

This is the side of the floor that could prevent North Carolina from going deep in the Dance. Smart offenses exploit a weak spot (as Duke did recently). Number 30 is fine nationally, but a problem once all the best teams are playing each other. Advantage on this side of the floor to Virginia. And, the fact that the Cavaliers patiently try to find good looks could match up VERY well against the Tar Heels.

 

Pace Ranking

North Carolina: #44

Virginia: #351

One of the widest extremes you’ll see all season. North Carolina plays racehorse basketball, while Virginia is in a virtual deep freeze. Obviously, whichever team can force the other out of its comfort zone will be in great shape. That ability usually goes to the home team. North Carolina will have to really emphasize pace to make up for the easy baskets they’ll probably allow inside through the evening.

 

Against the Spread

North Carolina: 12-15-1

Virginia: 12-13

Neither team has been a moneymaker this season. It’s very tough for Carolina to cash because they’re always priced to perfection. Virginia’s early win over Villanova may have tricked the computers and the marketplace into pricing them like champions too.

Will North Carolina/Virginia show up on the NETWORK ticket Saturday? You’ll have to sign up for service to find out! There’s certainly a chance that our matchup analysis will have us on one side or the other. You just saw that anticipating pace properly could lead to a very easy cover in one direction or the other.

The final word for Saturday basketball can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 Saturday morning before the first games tipoff. Be sure you ask about our great rates that take you all the way through MARCH MADNESS. The regular season may be coming to an end soon…but THE WINNING IS JUST BEGINNING!

Here’s what’s ahead through the final week of the regular season here in the NOTEBOOK…

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

Tuesday: Indiana at Iowa in the Big 10

Wednesday-Thursday: California at Arizona Thursday in the Pac 12

Friday-Saturday: North Carolina at Duke in the ACC (long awaited rematch!)

Sunday March 6: SMU at Cincinnati in the AAC (last day of the regular season!)

Monday March 7: Conference Championship Previews (Colonial, Metro-Atlantic)

Obviously we’ll be checking in with North Carolina again soon for that big rematch with Duke. Then…we’ll be all over the national landscape during championship week in the major conferences. It’s shaping up as the most exciting college basketball postseason ever. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

 

Be sure to follow:

Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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