Monday, January 30, 2012

Mid-Week Match-up Preview: January 31-February 2

The weekend was not especially good for my picks, as I went 2-2-1 to move my overall record to 22-14-2.

Much like my own picks, the league spent the weekend treading water. That's not necessarily a bad thing - Virginia solidified its place as an NCAA Tournament team with its best win of the season - a road win at NC State. Combined with its home win against Michigan and a neutral court win over Drexel, the Cavaliers have a pretty good resume at this point and it would take something of a collapse for them to miss the field.

So that gives the league four strong NCAA teams right now, with FSU and UVA still capable of playing themselves out of the field while Duke and UNC are essentially locks. Not much to see in the mid-week games, as the top five all play teams from the bottom half of the standings. With six games this week and no interesting match-ups, expect some short previews.

Clemson at Virginia
Pomeroy: UVA by 11, 88% chance of winning
Clemson has been a tough out so far this year, losing three ACC games by a combined 12 points. Considering how the OOC schedule went, that's progress. Brownell has the team playing better, but the talent on hand is still severely lacking. Clemson will be right at home with Virginia's sluggish pace and the biggest upset of the night will be if someone eclipses with 60-point barrier

My Prediction: Virginia 56, Clemson 52

North Carolina at Wake Forest
Pomeroy: UNC by 19, 92% chance of winning
One note about UNC that I haven't seen talked about much - their atrocious free-throw shooting. They shoot 64.6 percent as a team, among the worst in the nation. It would seem easy to blame this on Henson, who is shooting a 'cover-your-eyes' 44 percent - but Marshall's 65 percent FT shooting is probably the most concerning thing for the Heels. You would really like your point guard to be one of your better FT shooters, and that's not the case for the Heels. It'll be interesting to see if that comes back to bite them in the ACC or NCAA Tournament.

My Prediction: UNC 90, Wake 70

Georgia Tech at Florida State
Pomeroy: FSU by 16, 93% chance of winning
This game would worry me some if Florida State was on the road, but at home it's hard to imagine them blowing a game to a Georgia Tech team that's essentially been blown out in four of its last five games. Expect Florida State to force a ton of turnovers and for their size inside to be a deciding factor against the Yellow Jackets.

My Prediction: FSU 65, GT 56

NC State at Boston College
Pomeroy: NCSU by 13, 87% chance of winning.
The fact that Wake and BC have combined for four conference wins before February 1st is the most surprising thing about the conference so far (outside of The Blacksburg Breakdown). The two teams won't make it to eight, I'm afraid, especially with Heckmann going down for the Eagles this week (perhaps 'going down' is not the best phrase to use when someone catches mono, but I'm leaving it). The Pack has three easy games in a row to regain its swagger before a brutal stretch after Valentine's Day - it can't afford to mess up any of the next three games.

My Prediction: Pack 80, BC 70

Maryland at Miami
Pomeroy: Miami by 12, 85% chance of winning
A must-win game for both teams, who are both holding on to faint glimmers of hope about making a push for NCAA bid. It's pretty much hopeless for both teams, as the league is probably set at four bids with only NC State holding any sort of chance at breaking through (and that chance is bleak following the loss to UVA). These two squads are probably your 6th and 7th best teams in some order.

My Prediction: Miami 70, Maryland 64

Duke at Virginia Tech
Pomeroy: Duke by 3, 59% chance of winning
Virginia Tech continues to be the darlings of the Pomeroy ratings despite a 1-6 record in 2012 where the Hokies scored 47 points in their sole win. I'm thinking Ken is just cheating with the Hokies so that he gets favorable Vegas lines like VT -2.5 at Maryland this weekend or VT +5 against Duke on Thursday. Look, the Blue Devils have all sorts of problems and VT always plays well against the Devils. But there's no way I can pick this Hokies team to win this game after losing games to BC and Wake. Oh and what is Duke's record following angry Coach K press conferences? I'd guess like 76-2.

My Prediction: Duke 82, VT 73

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