College Basketball ACC Championship Betting Picks: Virginia Cavaliers vs North Carolina Tar Heels

2016 ACC Tournament – Championship
#2 Virginia Cavaliers vs #1 North Carolina Tar Heels
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
Saturday, March 12, 2016, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: North Carolina -2
Current Line: North Carolina -2 1/2
Opening Total: 139 1/2
Current Total: 137 1/2
Opening Money Line: North Carolina -130 / Virginia +110
Current Money Line: North Carolina -145 / Virginia +125

Big South Tournament
North Carolina and Virginia meet in the ACC Championship game Saturday.

The 26-6 Virginia Cavaliers and 27-6 North Carolina Tar Heels are both in line for #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament as they meet in the ACC Championship game Saturday night in Washington, DC. North Carolina is looking for their 26th conference tournament championship and first since 2008. The Tar Heels won the ACC regular season title outright with a 14-4 record. North Carolina beat Pittsburgh 88-71 in the quarterfinals and crushed #4 seed Notre Dame 78-47 in the semifinals Friday night.

Virginia tied with Miami for second in the conference with a 13-5 record. The Cavaliers won the tie-breaker and were the #2 seed. Virginia looks to win their third ACC tournament championship after  winning it in 2014. Virginia beat Georgia Tech 72-52 in the quarterfinals and Miami 73-68 in the semifinals.

North Carolina leads the series 129-53 against Virginia, and the Tar Heels have won 11 of the last 16 games against the Cavaliers. UNC is 12-3 against Virginia in the ACC and has won the last six meetings. Virginia won the only meeting this season February 27 79-74 in Charlottesville.

Virginia is coached by Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers have road losses at George Washington, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Duke and Miami. All losses are by 7 points or less. Virginia has won five straight games. The Cavaliers have neutral site wins over Bradley, Long Beach State and George Mason in a tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, plus West Virginia in New York. Virginia has home wins over Lehigh, William & Mary, Villanova, California, Oakland, Notre Dame, Miami, Clemson, Syracuse, Boston College Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, North Carolina and Louisville. The Cavaliers also have road wins over Ohio State, Wake Forest, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Clemson. Virginia is 17-13 ATS and the total is 12-18 this season. The Cavaliers were 4 point favorites against Miami and the total was 125.5.

North Carolina is coached by Roy Williams. The Tar Heels have road losses at Northern Iowa, Texas, Louisville Notre Dame and Virginia,  plus a home loss to Duke. North Carolina has neutral site wins over Temple in Annapolis, Northwestern and Kansas State in Kansas City and UCLA in Brooklyn. UNC has home wins over Fairfield, Wofford, Maryland, Davidson, Tulane, Appalachian State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Miami and Syracuse. The Tar Heels have road wins at Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina State and Duke. UNC is 15-17-1 ATS and the total is 17-16 this season. The Tar Heels were 7 point favorites against Notre Dame  and the total was 158.5.

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Virginia is outscoring teams 71-60 this season. The Cavaliers are #2 nationally in points allowed. Virginia is shooting 49.1% from the field and 40.8% from three point range. The Cavaliers make 75.3% of their free throws. Virginia is in the top 17 nationally in all three shooting categories. Opponents are shooting 41.9% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. Virginia averages 31.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 25.9 per game. The Cavaliers are #2 nationally in rebounds allowed but #331 in rebounding. Virginia averages 14.7 assists, 9.4 rebounds, 5.5 steals and 3 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.8 assists, 12.1 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 2.2 blocks per game.

Malcolm Brogdon averages 18.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Anthony Gill averages 13.6 points and 6 rebounds per game. London Parrantes averages 11.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Mike Tobey averages 7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Darius Thompson averages 4.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1 steal a game. Devon Hall, Isaiah Wilkins, and Marial Shayock will also get time in the rotation. Wilkins (concussion) and Evan Wilkes (foot) are both questionable.

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North Carolina is outscoring teams 83-71 this season. The Tar Heels are #10 in scoring nationally. North Carolina is shooting 47.% from the field and 31.3% from 3 point range. The Tar Heels are #24 in field goal percentage but #308 in three point shooting nationally. UNC makes 74% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.4% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. UNC averages 41.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.9 per game. The Tar Heels are #12 in rebounding and #31 in rebounds allowed nationally. North Carolina averages 18.4 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 4.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.4 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 3.1 blocks per game.

Brice Johnson averages 17 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Justin Jackson averages 12.4 points, 4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Marcus Paige averages 12.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 assists per game. Joel Berry II averages 11.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 3.9 steals. Kennedy Meeks averages 10 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.  Isaiah Hicks averages 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Nate Britt, Theo Pinson and Joel James also get time in the rotation.

Virginia is 5-0 ATS overall and against ACC teams, 4-0 after a straight up win and a cover, 10-1 against teams with winning records, 5-1 in neutral site games, and 39-14-2 in Saturday games. The Cavaliers are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 games against the Tar Heels.

North Carolina is 4-1 after a straight up win, 4-1-1 in neutral site games, 5-2 overall, in ACC games and against teams with winning records, and 2-5 after allowing less than 50 points. The last five games in this series have gone over the total. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in this series recently.

This should be another close game between two national championship contenders. The winner is almost assured of a #1 seed and the loser could even get one too depending on what happens in the other tournaments. I like Carolina to win perhaps on a buzzer beater.

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