College Basketball State of the ACC Betting Report: Florida State & Notre Dame Rising, UNC Falling
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Caleb Mills (FSU)
Another few weeks have gone by which means it’s time for another installment of the State of the Conference: ACC edition.
Has the once-dominant conference finally found its footing?
No. In fact, it has gotten much worse.
A few weeks ago, it was Duke vs. everybody else. While the league is still keeping that same identity, Duke has taken a step back. During its overtime loss to Florida State, Duke showed more half-court offensive issues.
Not all is bad for the ACC, though. Over the past few weeks, some teams have started to intrigue me as contenders to capture the league crown.
As previously mentioned, FSU beat Duke. Miami (FL) has also taken a giant leap forward, even though its defense is still horrendous.
Will the ACC start to take steps in the right direction and bring viable competition come March?
All odds via FanDuel
While the number has dipped from +100 to -140 since the last State of the Conference report, Duke’s weakness was once again exposed, leaving a blueprint on how to beat the Blue Devils.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the Blue Devils are still the clear-cut favorite — the conference lacks a strong No. 2 — but Duke is not as scary as it once was earlier this season.
We may see this number dip even more, as Duke has a very friendly schedule coming up. The Blue Devils host Clemson and Louisville before traveling to Notre Dame and North Carolina.
They had a good past couple of weeks — going 3-1 — but dropping one to Florida State on the road was unfortunate. Florida State slowed the pace and forced Duke into half-court possessions, something Ohio State did earlier this year.
Duke’s defense was also uncharacteristically off, giving the poor-shooting Seminoles open looks throughout the game.
Still, Duke is one of the top-10 teams in the nation and the only ACC team in the AP Top 25. The Blue Devils rank in the top 20 in both AdjO and AdjD, per KenPom, and will be the favorite come conference tourney time.
This is arguably the biggest leap in the market for actual contenders. The Seminoles saw their number cut in half over the past couple of weeks, dropping from +1100 to +460 to win the ACC Tournament.
Are they for real? I’m not entirely sold, especially at this number.
Neither is KenPom, which still has Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and North Carolina all ahead of the Seminoles in AdjEM.
The Seminoles’ biggest weakness is their shooting, as they rank below average in the nation. They have improved a little over the past few games, though, which gives them hope of remaining in contention.
Lengthy and pesky, the Seminoles will ride their defense in hopes of a deep run. If they supplement that with improved shooting, they could be a real dangerous threat.d
This is the biggest head scratcher right now in the ACC, and arguably the country.
Miami (FL) shot out of a cannon to open ACC play, beating Duke and dismantling North Carolina later on. This number would be much lower if it didn’t dig itself into a 20+ point deficit that it nearly overcame against Florida State.
The Canes are an offensive juggernaut, ranking 24th in AdjO thanks to lethal, experienced scorers all over the court. Their four leading scorers are all at the guard position, as they play small but efficient basketball.
Kameron McGusty has shown to be one of the best players in the conference and one they will rely on for a deep run. The veteran is averaging 17.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
What gives me pause about putting stock in Miami is its defense. While greatly improved from their previous ranking of over 200 in AdjD, the Hurricanes are still 149th, per KenPom.
Coming off of dominant wins against North Carolina and Boston College in which its offense could simply not be stopped — as predicted in my game guide for the UNC affair — Wake Forest now finds itself second in the ACC in AdjEM, per KenPom.
The Demon Deacons have arguably the most lethal player in the conference in Alondes Williams, who is leading the ACC in points per game and dropped 23 against the Tar Heels. He is coupled with three other teammates who are scoring in double-digits, making this a very versatile offense.
They are as near-balanced as it gets, ranking 47th in AdjO and 44th in AdjD. As I have mentioned many times before, balance is a metric I first look for in any team before judging if it can make a run in a tournament style of play.
Wake Forest will be worth a small play at the current number, as it has a very favorable schedule. Also, I do not see this number getting any better by conference tournament time.
Hello Miami of old.
In the last installment, I had no idea what to make of the Miami Hurricanes, as they made a surge out of nowhere. In this installment, the Fighting Irish have taken that spot as this article’s head scratcher.
The Irish have gone 3-1 since the last piece, with their only loss coming at Virginia Tech. They are currently putting the ACC on notice, as they’re 5-2 in the standings.
Their offense has taken a giant leap forward in scoring production, now ranking 30th in AdjO. They go eight deep, with four players scoring in double figures.
When the Irish are on, they can keep pace with anyone in scoring.
Like Miami, the offense is amazing, but the Irish’s defense has been their Achilles heel (119th in AdjD).
If they can shore up the defense, this is a unit that matches the blue print to beat Duke. Notre Dame plays at a super slow pace and its offense gives it a lead that could dictate the tempo. Slowing it down and forcing Duke into half-court sets could make Notre Dame a dark horse to win it all.
A frequent visitor to the contender part of this article, North Carolina has now dropped to “Almost There.” The Tar Heels have been blown out by 20+ in two of their past three outings against Miami and Wake Forest.
Give every man on the team a sweater because UNC is the coldest shooting team in the nation. But the main downfall is it doesn’t have a defense to rely on.
North Carolina has shot down to 80th in AdjD and are no longer in second place in the ACC in AdjEM, per KenPom. The offense has also dipped out of the top 20, ranking 35th in AdjO as of writing.
North Carolina is trending in the wrong direction, but still has some sliver of hope as Armando Bacot is turning into one of the best and most dominant players in the ACC.
Bacot will look to lead this team back into the right direction to contend in the ACC.
Players to Watch
Alondes Williams with another great performance for Wake Forest
-7 rebounds pic.twitter.com/LUSUIVuuXd
— Barstool Bench Mob (@stoolbenchmob) January 25, 2022
Lethal from downtown! 🔥
— Chad Mart (@ChadMart1) January 12, 2022