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ACC Conference Championship Game Betting Preview

Virginia Cavaliers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (OFF)

The dominance missing from North Carolina’s performance most of the season may be appearing just in time to end the Tar Heels’ eight-year ACC title drought – and potentially serve as a springboard to the Final Four. The Tar Heels roll into Saturday’s ACC championship game against Washington, D.C., against Virginia following a 31-point rout of Notre Dame in Friday’s semifinal, a display illustrating just how difficult North Carolina could be for opponents in the NCAA tournament.

“We didn’t play great offensively, but our defense is peaking,” guard Marcus Paige told reporters after scoring 16 points, highlighting a dominant display that moved the Tar Heels to the cusp of their first league tournament crown since 2008 and most likely a No. 1 seed entering the NCAA tournament. Standing in the way are the Cavaliers, whose current five-game winning streak started with a five-point home victory over North Carolina on Feb. 27. Malcolm Brogdon again sparked Virginia in its 73-68 semifinal victory Friday over Miami (Fla.), scoring 24 points to bring the Cavaliers a victory away from their second ACC tournament title in three years and potentially a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs. “We know how good UNC is,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett told the media, “and we’ll need to be at our best.”

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN3


Virginia – 26-6 SU, 17-13 ATS, 12-18 O/U
North Carolina – 27-6 SU, 15-17-1 ATS, 17-16 O/U

Virginia Cavaliers (-16.95) – North Carolina Tar Heels (-15.85) = Virginia -1.1

The Cavaliers have been models of efficiency on both ends of the floor, ranking second in the nation in scoring defense (59.6) while leading the ACC and ranking in the top 10 nationally in field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting. Brogdon is one of the ACC’s best, averaging 18.8 points per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 88.3 percent from the free-throw line. Virginia shot 52 percent from the field against the Hurricanes, topping 50 percent for the third consecutive game and fourth time in its past seven contests.

Paige has struggled with his shooting all season – going 9-of-33 from the field in his final three regular-season games – but he hit 4-of-7 from 3-point range Friday and sparked a crippling 24-0 run with eight points. The Tar Heels have won four in a row and six of seven overall, forcing 17 turnovers Friday in holding the Fighting Irish to 30 percent shooting from the field. Forward Brice Johnson’s streak of five consecutive double-doubles ended Friday (12 points, seven rebounds in 15 minutes due to foul trouble), but the senior leads North Carolina in scoring (16.7 points) and rebounds (10.6).


* Cavaliers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 9-1 in Cavaliers last 10 games following a straight up win.
* Over is 5-0 in Tar Heels last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.