3/8/18: ACC Tournament Write-up

Daytime action in the ACC Tournament with the #1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers squaring off against the #9 seed Louisville Cardinal in the rematch of the thriller in Louisville that saw the Cards squander a 4 point lead in less than one second. In our second match, we have the upstart #12 Boston College Eagles led by the sensational Jerome Robinson facing off against the #4 Clemson Tigers, well-rested on the double bye. Our analysts break down these match-ups to see which side you should be on.

Louisville Cardinals (20-12) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (-6.5) – O/U 122.5

Early one-sided action on Louisville has pushed this line down from an opening of 7.5 to 6.5 point. Virginia has been a stellar team ATS this season going 18-8-1 while Louisville has also turned in a respectable 15-13-2 ATS record. While Virginia has struggled in covering spreads recently, we like a rested Virginia to cover the 6.5 pt spread, especially after dodging an injury scare with guard Kyle Guy expected to play. We feel Louisville may have trouble turning in the same kind of performance that had them on the verge of upending Virginia in the KFC Yum Center, shooting a very high percentage from three on tough contested looks; Virginia beat this Louisville team by 10 in Charlottesville earlier in the season. We would recommend holding off to look for further movement but feel comfortable with this line moving below a key number at 7 points. This is also a candidate to include in parlays with the Virginia ML; we could also see a tight game early so UVA on the 2nd half spread could be in play if they are in a close battle or down at the break.

Boston College Eagles vs. Clemson Tigers (-4) – O/U 139

Despite roughly 2/3 of tickets coming in on Clemson, this line has moved from -4.5 to -4, indicating sharp action on the upset-minded BC Eagles. If you look to the completed Big 10 Tournament, we have seen somewhat of a trend of teams with momentum coming in and giving teams on bye a tough game. We think this may be especially likely with a Clemson team that has struggled a bit after a hot start in ACC play; they have now lost 4 of their last 6 games. When these two teams met in January, BC lost by 4 points at home. Look for Jerome Robinson to keep this BC team in it until the bitter end and potentially pull the upset—stellar guard play is critical this time of year and BC has one of the best.

Win Streaks Continued: Raptors, Rockets and… Pelicans?

CaptureThe Raptors grabbed their ninth win in 10 games, outscoring the last place Hawks 30-13 in the final stanza. With just 19 games to play, Toronto stretches their hold on 1st in the East to two games. With a 27-5 record at home, you’d think that they would be the odds on favorites to advance out of the East, but general consensus (and Vegas) still likes Lebron to reach a 7th straight NBA Final. Even with the Cavs record of 3-4 since the break (and blockbuster deal), it’s hard to doubt The King.

The Rockets followed suit, securing their league leading 50th win on the season with a 122-112 road win against the Thunder. Their 16th straight win, the Rockets haven’t been in the L column since a two-point road loss to the Pelicans on Jan. 27th, a game in which Harden went an anomalous 1/9 from behind the arc. The loss leaves the Thunder in the bottom half of the precarious eight team battle for playoff spots 3-8 in the West.Capture

In the midst of that race- Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, a team that looked all but finished after losing 5 out of their first 6 games without Boogie Cousins. Since then? NO has reeled off 9 straight, catapulting into 4th place. Davis, who is averaging a ridiculous, almost Chamberlainesque, 37.7 pts & 14.6 rebs over that stretch, hit a silky turnaround jumper with 31 seconds to give NO the victory securing lead. Davis finished with 41 pts, 13 rbs, and 3 blks.

Davis has had a remarkable career trajectory, and has taken another leap forward in year 6. His play as of late begs the below question raised by Hoop Central.:

As of March 4th Davis’s odds to win the MVP sat at +2800 behind Curry, Giannis, James and the runaway favorite Harden. I fully agree with Hoop Central (and Kevin Roberts’ article) – get this man in the discussion!

Other notables:

  • Dwight Howard put up 30 in a losing effort against the 76ers. Howard last crossed the 30+ pts mark on 11/2/2016.
  • Damian Lillard continued his torrid scoring pace, hitting 8/11 3pts on his way to a 37 point outing, the fourth time he has scored 35 or more in the past six games.
  • Having dropped three of their previous four, the Wizards held on to beat the Hornets in OT. Bradley Beal went 12/16 for 30pts. John Wall (knee) participated in pregame shooting. He is expected to return sometime in the next 2-3 weeks.
  • And nearly flying under the radar- Steph paces the Warriors with 34 pts, 6/12 from deep, en route to a 114-101 W over the Nets.

Tuesday March 6th

    • Boston College Advances despite going just 2/14 from 3pt, BC took down Georgia Tech 87-77. CaptureSophomore guard Ky Bowman put up 26, making it three straight games with 20+ pts. If Bowman can stay hot combined with a solid outing from junior G/F Jerome Robinson, don’t be shocked if they give NC State trouble tomorrow.
    • Syracuse scored 0 bench points but managed to beat Wake 73-64. Notre Dame barely survived last place Pittsburgh in a 67-64 scare. ND will face Virginia Tech while Syracuse prepares to take on UNC, likely needing a victory to punch their ticket to the tourney.
    • No. 6 ranked Gonzaga beat BYU 74-54 to win their sixth consecutive WCC championship.
    • Champions League: The first day of second leg matches ended pretty much the same way the started.
    • Ronaldo was doing Rondalo things while a Neymarless PSG failed to score the 3 goals they needed at home. Clearly upset by the lack of performance, hothead Italian Marco Veratti said “va fanculo!” earning as his second yellow of the game leaving PSG to play with a man down early. Bale, Modric and Co. cruise to a 2-1 victory in Paris winning 5-2 aggregate. Vamos Madrid!
    • In the UK, a snooze fest ended in 0-0 tie after Liverpool routed FC Porto on the shiny coast. The only highlight of the game was Can’s fantastic (and embarrassing) nutmeg. Porto never had a chance in this one.

Today’s Pick

Conference Tournament Week

Game of the Day

Ignoring the Big 10 (eager beavers up there eh?), all of the major conference tournaments kick off today. Let’s take a look:

Wake Forest (11-19, 4-14) at Syracuse (19-11, 10-8)

Tuesday 3/6/18, 7pm, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

The Guru and Go: “Syracuse has under-performed enough this season. It’s win-or-die time, and while Jimmy B may be old, he isn’t ready to call it quits just yet, especially in Brooklyn! Tyus Battle, Oshae “Canadian Double-Double Maker” Brissett and Frank Howard get things going early. After jumping out to a double-digit lead Cuse holds on and just manages to cover, however, I’m liking the first half spread better than the final given Cuse’s lack of depth and history of collapsing..” – Bookie Monster (0-0) 

Bet: Syracuse 1H -2.5
Final Prediction: Syracuse 68 Wake Forest 61

Break Down: Syracuse is still alive for a tourney spot, but this is without a question a must-win. The Orange have dropped four of their last six games including a 15 point loss after a second half collapse. Wake Forest, the 14th seed in the ACC, will look to the memory bank for some cues, hoping to return to their form on 1/3/18 when they beat Syracuse at home by a final of 73-67, behind 19 points from junior guard Bryant Crawford.

Crawford, who leads the Deacons with 16.7 ppg and 4.9 apg and recently put up 29 in a losing effort vs. NC State will likely need to be heroic for Wake to have any shot. Stopping Orange guard Tyus Battle (20 ppg) wouldn’t be a bad call either. The problem is, the Orange have two other double-digit scorers laying in the wait: junior guard Frank Howard and freshman forward Oshae Brissett (14.8ppg).

As is always the case facing Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse squad, WF must effectively spread the court, use high screens, and knock down open shots to break Boeheim’s signature 2-3 zone. Look for 7’1″ junior center Doral Moore to set screens up top in order to free some space for the ball handler, ideally forcing the zone to rotate.

One final point of emphasis is the depth on the Syracuse end. The early season departure of guard Geno Thorpe has resulted in the Orange maintaining a regular rotation of just seven players. If Wake Forest can get a Syracuse starter to pick up a couple early fouls, ideally Battle, the lack of depth could play in the Deacon’s favor.

“One Guru alone can defeat 10,000 men riding elephants” – Julius Caesar


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