Zion Williamson’s injury and subsequent absence has made Duke mortal. The Blue Devils were the favorites to win the conference and the national championship just two weeks ago, but his knee injury has made them beatable. Not only that, the Blue Devils are no longer likely to win their conference in the regular season. They have lost two of their last three and have slipped behind both Virginia and North Carolina in the ACC standings, and that will add some intrigue to the ACC Tournament when it kicks off on March 12. You can bet on every ACC Tournament game at BetDSI.
ACC Tournament Favorites
Virginia – The Cavaliers have to be considered the favorite if Williamson sits out for the entirety of the conference tournament. Virginia’s only two losses this season came at the hands of Duke, and the Wahoos have run the table against the rest of their conference foes. They are in the driver’s seat to get the No. 1 seed and that would be a big help too as Duke and North Carolina would likely face off in the 2-3 battle.
North Carolina – UNC has won five in a row following a home loss to Virginia. The Tar Heels are playing good basketball on both ends of the floor, and they are extremely deep. Ten different players are averaging at least 10 minutes per game, and that will serve them well with games over the course of three straight days to determine the conference champion. Roy Williams’ health is something to keep an eye on though after he had to be helped off the court against Clemson on Saturday.
Duke – There is a silver lining to the Zion injury for the Blue Devils. Coach K had been relying on just six or seven players while he was on the court, playing the rest of his bench only in garbage time situations. However, not having the top pick in this year’s draft has caused Duke to look to other players, and some of those rarely used bench players are now getting real playing time. That will help them given there are no nights off in the ACC Tournament, but Zion must play for Duke to knock off either Virginia or UNC.
ACC Tournament Contenders
Whichever team finishes fourth in the conference at the end of the regular season will have a huge advantage. The school that finishes fourth gets a double bye into the quarterfinals and doesn’t have to play before Thursday, while the teams that finish right behind them must play in the Second Round on Wednesday and win four games in four days to take down the tournament.
Right now, Florida State and Virginia Tech are tied for fourth at 11-5 and as fate would have it, they will meet on Tuesday night in Tallahassee. The winner of that game is almost certain to get the No. 4 seed as both teams have just one more game and they will be closing out their seasons against a team well under .500.
The Seminoles will be favored in this game, and if they end up holding serve, they can make some noise in the tournament. FSU is incredibly athletic and sound on defense, but the question is whether the offense can produce enough.
It’s hard to see a team outside of the first five seeds winning the ACC Tournament. The conference usually has a solid mid-tier, but this season the middle of the pack is weak and the teams around .500 either have major issues or are collapsing.
Syracuse’s only win of note came on the road against a short-handed Duke team, and the Orange only have one other victory against another ACC team with a .500 or better record in conference play. Meanwhile, Louisville has lost five of its last seven and one of those wins was by a single point over Clemson.
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