Virginia-Florida St., Duke-North Carolina
The ACC semifinals are Friday in Charlotte with top-seed Virginia taking on Florida State in the opener and Duke and North Carolina going at it in the nightcap. Here’s our selections:
FLORIDA ST. (+9) vs. VIRGINIA, 7 p.m.
Pick: Virginia (-9)
Let me start by saying I really like Florida State (26-6) and coach Leonard Hamilton and think this team will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament, just as it was last year.
With that said, Virginia (29-2) looks to be on a mission this season. The Cavs have won nine straight and haven’t lost to anyone not named Duke.
The fact the line is nine tells you a lot. It’s that high for a reason and the reason is Virginia is going to roll again. It doesn’t help the Seminoles that they had a knock-down/drag-out overtime game with a tough Virginia Tech team Thursday.
Take the Cavs despite the heavy line.
DUKE (-3) vs. NORTH CAROLINA, 9 p.m.
Pick: Duke (-3)
I was going to pass on this game and say “just sit back and enjoy’’, but that’s not why you come here. You want a selection.
Has any team, or coach, ever beaten Coach K three times in a season? Roy Williams and the Tar Heels get the chance, and may get another chance in the Final Four.
I would have never thought this at the beginning of the season, or even in the middle of the season, but Duke (27-5) needs this game more than the Tar Heels (27-5) do.
If Duke wins, all three ACC teams should be No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tourney (they should be anyway, but a Duke win should end any and all arguments).
Don’t go crazy here, but if you must, take Duke just because.