Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, March 6, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Though there was some debate midseason about whether the ACC or the Big 12 was the nation’s strongest conference…it now seems pretty clear that the ACC is well clear of the field. They are currently projected to get 10 teams into the Big Dance. There are only 10 teams in the entire Big 12! It’s possible that more from the ACC will be added if bubble teams like Clemson and Georgia Tech get good results this week in the league tournament.
We’re going to preview the ACC today, and the Big 12 tomorrow here in JIM HURLEY’S HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK. We’ll start each preview with a look at Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology estimates that were posted at ESPN early Monday. Then, we’ll run through the computer ratings in a format that will let you make notes in your daily schedules.
A lot to talk about today with 15 teams in the ACC. Let’s get to it!
North Carolina is projected to be a #1 seed in the NCAA’s
Louisville is projected to be a #2 seed in the NCAA’s
Florida State is projected to be a #3 seed in the NCAA’s
Duke is projected to be a #4 seed in the NCAA’s
Virginia is projected to be a #5 seed in the NCAA’s
Notre Dame is projected to be a #5 seed in the NCAA’s
Virginia Tech is projected to be a #8 seed in the NCAA’s
Miami is projected to be a #8 seed in the NCAA’s
Wake Forest is projected to be a #11 seed in the NCAA’s
Syracuse is projected to be a #11 seed in the NCAA’s
Clemson is on the bubble (in the last 8 out, but not last 4 out)
Georgia Tech is on the bubble (in the last 8 out, but not last 4 out)
Obviously the ACC is going to be a big story for the next few weeks. North Carolina is playing so well lately that nobody would be surprised if they return all the way to the finals on the first Monday night of April. But…you can see that several other teams have legitimate shots to make headlines. Could two ACC teams reach the Final Four? Could as many as six or seven reach the Sweet 16?
First things first…and that means we look at the teams that take the floor Tuesday. Our conference previews will feature each team’s average margin in conference games only (because strength of schedule is so similar relative to the full season), and then computer ratings entering the new week from college hoops guru Ken Pomeroy (of kenpom.com) and MIT math whiz Jeff Sagarin (of USA Today)
Teams in Tuesday’s First Round
#10 seed Wake Forest: +1.3 margin, #30 in kenpom, #34 in Sagarin
#11 seed Georgia Tech: -3.7 margin, #80 in kenpom, #81 in Sagarin
#12 seed Clemson: -3.5 margin, #37 in kenpom, #44 in Sagarin
#13 seed NC State: -11.1 margin, #100 in kenpom, #84 in Sagarin
#14 seed Pittsburgh: -7.6 margin, #74 in kenpom, #70 in Sagarin
#15 seed Boston College: -10.7 margin, #158 in kenpom, #146 in Sagarin
Obviously a lot at stake here for those first three teams listed. Wake Forest is currently in the Dance according to Lunardi, but is very much on the bubble. If they lose their First Round game to lowly Boston College…that might drop them down to the NIT. Georgia Tech and Clemson had very similar conference margins, but the computers disagree wildly on their true talent. Clemson is seen as very much a Dance-quality team, while Tech doesn’t even grade out as a good NIT team. Those numbers are telling you to keep an eye on Wake Forest and Clemson this week as potential spoilers. Wake will play Virginia Tech if it advances, Clemson runs into Duke.
Byes into Wednesday’s Second Round
#5 seed Duke: +3.9 margin, #15 in kenpom, #10 in Sagarin
#6 seed Virginia: +5.8 margin, #5 in kenpom, #8 in Sagarin
#7 seed Virginia Tech: -2.4 margin, #47 in kenpom, #47 in Sagarin
#8 seed Syracuse: +0.7 margin, #44 in kenpom, #36 in Sagarin
#9 seed Miami: +0.6 margin, #31 in kenpom, #28 in Sagarin
It’s amazing that teams as good as Duke and Virginia have to win a game just to get into the quarterfinals of this large tournament. The computers still love Virginia despite that recent rough patch. The Cavaliers did get their ship righted in the final week. The Cavaliers also have the best margin average in this group. One thing to remember about Syracuse…the more you see their zone, the easier it is to beat them. Syracuse may struggle in the ACC’s, but then stymie Dance opponents next week.
Double-Byes into Thursday’s Quarterfinals
#1 seed North Carolina: +9.2 margin, #4 in kenpom, #4 in Sagarin
#2 seed Florida State: +6.3 margin, #18 in kenpom, #16 in Sagarin
#3 seed Notre Dame: +2.8 margin, #26 in kenpom, #25 in Sagarin
#4 seed Louisville: +8.3 margin, #8 in kenpom, #7 in Sagarin
The computers have Florida State and Notre Dame worse than Duke and Virginia! So, the seedings really aren’t in line with best estimates of team quality. Notre Dame needed good fortune in close games to sneak into the double bye. Both the Seminoles and Irish are vulnerable to upset right out of the gate.
It’s going to be a great event. If form holds, we’ll have dream matchups over the final two days. If there are upsets, then great storylines will write themselves before our eyes.
Who should you bet on? JIM HURLEY is the man with the answers! Network’s exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach will combine the expertise of team sources, neutral on-site sources in Brooklyn, statheads, computer algorithms, and “friends” behind the line in Las Vegas to get you the best bets on the board in all of this week’s conference tournament action. You can purchase BIG, JUICY WINNERS with your credit card right here at the website. If you have any questions about combination packages that go through the NCAA Tournament or the NBA Playoffs, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
Back with you tomorrow to study the Big 12. Get ready for one of the wildest rides in Las Vegas sports betting. TOURNAMENT WEEK is here. Be sure you spend it with PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY!