Clemson, Pittsburgh Expected To Cause Trouble Against Duke, UNC In ACC Tournament

Jaron BlossomgameIt took an extra five minutes of overtime, but the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament finally have been set, and Friday’s schedule doesn’t have many surprises thanks to the Clemson Tigers. The No. 6 ACC seed needed overtime Thursday night to put away No. 11 Georgia Tech 69-65, creating a push as four-point favorites.

That leaves four games at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. The No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers and the No. 3 Duke Blue Devils went into the ACC tournament as 2-1 co-favorites on Bovada’s NCAA men’s basketball futures market. Let’s see how they stack up against the spread.

No. 9 Florida State vs. No. 1 Virginia (12 p.m.)

The Cavaliers (25-6 straight up, 16-10-1 against the spread) have opened as six-point favorites against the Seminoles (19-12 straight up, 17-12 against the spread), who advanced to the quarters with a narrow 67-65 victory over No. 8 Maryland (-1). After an excellent season in relative anonymity, Florida State is 4-1 straight up and against the spread in its last five, but the Seminoles lost both of their previous games against Virginia by 12 points apiece.

No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 4 North Carolina (2 p.m.)

The Panthers (24-8 straight up, 11-17-1 against the spread) were intriguing value picks at 12-1 to win the ACC tourney, and they’re also very much worth a look as one-point underdogs against the Tar Heels (23-8 straight up, 16-15 against the spread). Ken Pomeroy’s advanced stats have Pittsburgh ranked No. 18 overall (No. 15 offense, No. 48 defense) in Division I, four spots ahead of North Carolina at No. 22 (No. 53 offense, No. 20 defense). The Tar Heels won their earlier meeting in Chapel Hill, 75-71, as three-point faves. Let’s see how they do on “neutral” ground Friday afternoon.

No. 7 North Carolina State vs. No. 2 Syracuse (7 p.m.)

Bettors have been running away from the Orange (27-4 straight up, 14-11-2 against the spread) since they lost their first game of the season against Boston College then lost three of their remaining five games going into the ACC tourney. But Syracuse still is a very dangerous team and should be healthy favorites against the Wolfpack (20-12 straight up, 16-12-1 against the spread) once the men’s basketball lines have been released for this matchup. N.C. State advanced by beating No. 10 Miami 67-58 Thursday night as two-point underdogs. The Wolfpack is now 5-1 against the spread in its last six games, with the over cashing in seven times in a row.

No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 3 Duke (9 p.m.)

It’s become quite fashionable over the years to hate the Blue Devils (24-7 straight up, 18-12-1 against the spread), and while they’ve been highly profitable this year, they lost their previous matchup with the Tigers on Jan. 11, getting mauled 72-59 as 5.5-point road favorites. Freshman forward Jaron Blossomgame (11.1 PER) had 14 points and 14 rebounds in that game, but he hasn’t done much else for Clemson this year. Jabari Parker (29.4 PER), meanwhile, figures to improve on his 15-point performance against the Tigers.

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