The combination of my love of ACC basketball and a weekend spent with the in-laws has combined into a sudden burst of writing. That's a long way of saying that I'm not sure if these previews will become a regular thing, but for this weekend its a thing.
Anyway, ranked in order of intrigue, here's a look at this weekends games.
Miami @ Virginia
By far the best game on the weekend slate, this game should give us a better read on both of these teams. It's Miami's first big test since getting Reggie Johnson back and it will be Virginia's toughest game since the ACC/Big 10+ Challenge. This game also has massive NCAA implications for both teams - its not a must-win for either but it would be a nice win on Miami's resume and something of a blemish for the Cavs on their home court.
It will also be interesting to see how Miami's efficient offense does against Virginia's stingy defense. Don't expect a lot of points because neither team plays a quick pace, but I think Miami has the athleticism to put together a good offensive performance. I think this is a game where Virginia's offense is actually going to have to do some work if they want to win. Pomeroy gives the Cavs an 80% chance to win and has them favored by 7 at home - both those numbers seem high to me. I'd take Miami if that ends up being the line in the morning.
My Prediction: I think Miami pulls this one out. It just seems like every time we think we've figured out the third-best team in this league they find a way to prove us wrong. Miami 65, UVA 63
Maryland at NC State
Probably not the second-best game on paper, but I'm in official panic mode about this game from my NC State fan point of view. As I've said in several outlets, I don't know what to think about Maryland now that they have their full roster together.
However it plays out, expect plenty of points. Both teams play at a decently quick pace and neither team has a great defense. This could be the high-scoring game of the weekend depending on how nice UNC feels. Pomeroy thinks the Pack have a 90% chance to win this game and has them favored by 15. Again, both feel too high for me.
My Prediction: High-scoring game that is close throughout but a young Maryland team playing its first real road game fails to capitalize on the opportunity. Pack 85, Maryland 80
Florida State at Clemson
ACC road game are tough. This is one of those games that I could easily see FSU losing. Neither team can score so its going to be one of those knock-down, drag-out, ugly-as-hell ACC games that have become far too common the last five years. If Clemson manages to get the 'Noles to play at their pace, it could be a game where neither team breaks 60. Pomeroy gives the 'Noles a 60% chance and makes them a two-point favorite.
My Prediction: ACC road games are tough. FSU can't score. Clemson 57, FSU 51
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest
This should be one of three blow-outs this weekend. But we'll see - I don't completely trust the Hokies yet and Wake Forest has a 'really bad but feisty' look to it where I could see them winning a home game or two against the uneven middle tier of the league. If Wake can score on VT's defense, they could make this something of game. It's a big if however. Pomeroy gives the Hokies about an 80% chance of winning and makes them a 9-point favorite.
My Prediction: It's interesting for about a half then Wake falls apart. VT 75, Wake 61
Duke at Georgia Tech
I saw @scacchoops talking about the Yellow Jackets having a chance in this game because they play good defense and the Devils struggle when the don't make shots - which tends to happen more on the road. Nice try. Duke ain't losing back-to-back games and its certainly not dropping its second straight game to an awful Georgia Tech team. Pomeroy gives Duke an 85% chance of winning and makes them an 11-point favorite.
My Prediction: Duke comes out angry and its never really a game. Duke 83, Georgia Tech 68
Boston College at North Carolina
Ugh. That's my reaction to every BC game this season. Boston College has generously been given a 1% chance of winning this game by Pomeroy and thinks it will be a 33-point game.
My Prediction: Biscuits. UNC 101, BC 75