The 2017 ACC basketball tournament tips off Tuesday, March 7th at 12 p.m. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The ACC is arguably the deepest conference in all of college basketball , with 9 or 10 teams expecting to make the big dance. North Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Louisville have all received byes into the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Tar Heels come into the tournament as the No. 1 seed, and rightfully so after winning the regular season ACC title.
With the ACC having the abundance of talent that they do, there are a good 5 or 6 teams that have a legitimate opportunity to win this. North Carolina is the overall favorite at +185 (bet $100 to win $185), followed by Virginia and Louisville both at +400. The best thing about this is that any team can win on any night and advance. The thrill of every game being an elimination game is what makes these college basketball tournaments so exciting.
I hate for it to seem like I’m taking the easy way out and picking the favorite, but that is exactly what I am going to do. The North Carolina Tar Heels will be crowned the tournament champions when it is all said and done on Saturday. The Tar Heels are lead by ACC player of the year, Justin Jackson. Jackson is the key to their success as he averages 18.3 PPG and goes through stretches in the game where he simply can’t be guarded. Their front court does a tremendous job on controlling the glass, and guard Joel Berry II is an outstanding 3-point shooter. North Carolina is just too athletic for most teams in the country to keep up with, and that will help them prevail here on there way to an even deeper run in late March.
The Florida State Seminoles(+650) are an outstanding team that aren’t many people have talked about throughout the season as a real serious contender. The Seminoles are a very deep team with great scoring ability and size all over the court. Dwayne Bacon is scoring 16.9 PPG, and Jonathan Isaac is one of the top Freshmen in the country. This team can get up and down the court as good as anyone else in the conference, and if they get hot from behind the arc, watch out.
If you’re looking for a long shot with good value, then I suggest Notre Dame (+1200). The Irish are one of the premier 3- point shooting teams in the league, but are lead in scoring by their undersized forward Bonzie Colson at 17 PPG. The success of this team falls squarely on the back of their tough-nosed New Jersey PG Matt Farrell. Farrell is on my list of most entertaining players to watch, simply because of how hard he plays each and every possession. I wouldn’t be surprised at all is the Irish are right there on Saturday night facing off against the Tar Heels.
Players to Watch
- John Collins, F Wake Forest: One of the nation’s best kept secrets, averaging 19.1 PPG and 9.8 RPG.
- Justin Jackson, F North Carolina: ACC Player of the year, versatile shooter who drops 18.3 PPG.
- Matt Farrell, G Notre Dame: Clutch leader, scoring 14.2 PPG and 5.5 APG.