The ACC Race

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE RACE WILL BE FUN, BUT WILL SURVIVOR REALLY BE FINAL FOUR CALIBER?

The Atlantic Coast Conference is once again placed very prominently in national polls and March Madness projections. But, when you watch these teams play on TV...it's hard to get excited about a run to the Final Four. North Carolina lost to Texas. Both Duke and Virginia were getting a lot of poll respect until recent losses to unheralded Clemson and Georgia Tech. Miami was getting computer respect before also losing to Clemson...just as Duke was losing at home to Notre Dame!

Is this just going to be one of those seasons where ANYBODY can get hot in March and surge past a slew of "pretty good but not great" teams?

That looks to be a storyline we'll be discussing often here in the NOTEBOOK. Every conference has teams who are dreaming the dream. Most of these conferences and teams are being overrated by the media (and very possibly the computers). Today we're going to dig deep into the ACC to get you ready for that Syracuse/Duke game on ESPN Monday night. We recently studied the Big 12. Looks at the other major hoop conferences (Big 10, Big East, SEC, Pac 12) will be coming in the next few weeks. Let's see how the most respected public ratings systems have pegged everyone in the ACC. That means the computer ratings from Ken Pomeroy and Jeff Sagarin!

ACC COMPUTER RANKINGS
Louisville: #6 in Pomeroy, #7 in Sagarin
Virginia: #7 in Pomeroy, #11 in Sagarin
N. Carolina: #8 in Pomeroy, #5 in Sagarin
Miami: #15 in Pomeroy, #17 in Sagarin
Duke: #17 in Pomeroy, #16 in Sagarin
Notre Dame: #25 in Pomeroy, #28 in Sagarin
Pittsburgh: #30 in Pomeroy, #20 in Sagarin
Florida State: #40 in Pomeroy, #42 in Sagarin
Syracuse: #43 in Pomeroy, #68 in Sagarin
Clemson: #56 in Pomeroy, #51 in Sagarin
Georgia Tech: #58 in Pomeroy, #57 in Sagarin
NC State: #91 in Pomeroy, #85 in Sagarin
Virginia Tech: #116 in Pomeroy, #95 in Sagarin
Wake Forest: #127 in Pomeroy, #107 in Sagarin
Boston College: #235 in Pomeroy, #194 in Sagarin

That's five teams who are currently seen as Sweet 16 caliber, though nobody ranked up in the top four. Unfortunately for fans of the ACC, the computers have historically overrated the ACC. They're in lockstep before the Dance...and then too many ACC teams slip and fall on the Dance floor. For every time Duke goes deep, there's a time or two where they fall early to a Cinderella. At least Louisville has a great defensive pedigree.

The computers also have Notre Dame and Pittsburgh well within at-large range...and Florida State on the bubble. We may see as many as eight teams get invitations from the ACC come mid-March.

When you're handicapping these teams, it's vital to know their strengths and weaknesses. It's amazing how many people in sports betting and the media don't realize how truly fantastic Louisville always is on defense...and how vulnerable Duke and North Carolina often are on that side of the ball. Those factors are playing out again already this season once you adjust for pace and schedule strength (as Pomeroy does in his methodology)...

ACC ADJUSTED EFFICIENCY RANKINGS
Louisville: #39 on offense, #1 on defense
Virginia: #5 on offense, #35 on defense
Miami: #19 on offense, #29 on defense
North Carolina: #2 on offense, #61 on defense
Duke: #3 on offense, #95 on defense
Notre Dame: #1 on offense, #213 on defense
Pittsburgh: #7 on offense, #153 on defense
Florida State: #67 on offense, #46 on defense
Georgia Tech: #57 on offense, #74 on defense
Syracuse: #85 on offense, #39 on defense
Clemson: #47 on offense, #86 on defense
NC State: #83 on offense, #122 on defense
Wake Forest: #77 on offense, #202 on defense
Virginia Tech: #122 on offense, #132 on defense
Boston College: #327 on offense, #81 on defense

How are North Carolina and Duke going to make a run at the title if they're not guarding anybody?! Being around #60 may look good on a national scale...but it's awful when you're talking about Dance caliber teams. Notre Dame's defense is a joke too once again, hidden by their very slow pace. You cans see above that NOBODY is great on both sides of the floor. Miami has the most balance amongst the contenders, but that didn't get them very far in their loss at Clemson Saturday.

Joe Lunardi's Bracketology is about a week old as we write this. He'll post new numbers by midday Monday, which is well after our publication time. For now...the ACC is likely to get cushy seeding like always.

ACC BRACKETOLOGY (thru January 11)
North Carolina: projected to be a #2 seed
Virginia: projected to be a #3 seed
Duke: projected to be a #3 seed
Miami: projected to be a #3 seed
Pittsburgh: projected to be a #5 seed
Louisville: projected to be a #6 seed
Notre Dame: projected to be a #11 seed

Those will change some in Lunardi's Monday update. There's so much parity across the national landscape that it will be hard for the ACC powers too fall far. All the other leagues have vulnerable contenders too! Come March...there may be very little true on-court difference between the #3 seeds and the #10 seeds. (Notice you didn't see Clemson and Georgia Tech listed!).

In seasons like this, JIM HURLEY'S unique TEAM HANDICAPPING approach is ideally suited to take advantage. His group of experts knows the true talent of teams...their strengths and weaknesses, their likely emotional ebb and flow. Oddsmakers are defenseless against great handicapping! Be sure you take advantage by grabbing these BIG, JUICY WINNERS in college hoops!

You can purchase daily basketball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. It's easy to include the last three NFL Playoff blockbusters in any March Madness package.

Our multi-sport mix continues this week in the NOTEBOOK...

Midweek: NBA Preview for Wednesday's Golden State/Chicago game on ESPN
Thursday: NFL Conference Championship Preview (Game One Sunday)
Saturday: NFL Conference Championship Preview (Game Two Sunday)

Let's go GET THE MONEY in college hoops. When it comes to Las Vegas sports betting with JIM HURLEY, the letters ACC stand for ALWAYS COLLECTING CASH!

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