Clemson vs. North Carolina St.
When: 12:00 p.m. ET ESPN
Spread: Clemson -1
In there only prior game this season, Clemson lost to NC St. 69-67 on the road. That game was won on a buzzer beater 3 by Braxton Beverly. While NC St. may have won the game, Clemson clawed back from a first half 6 point deficit, and this is somewhat of a revenge game for them. Both teams have had a pretty hit or miss end of the season; however, the one difference that I can pull from these two teams is that Clemson has actually beaten a good team this year. Clemson beat Virginia Tech in early February 59-51 at home. That Virginia Tech team is actually the team that limited NC St. to the fewest point total in the shot clock era with 24 points. That is something that was uncommon for them, because they were averaging about 84.4 points per game at the time. That being said, neither team really comes into this game with any momentum.
Looking at these teams head to head, this is going to be a defensive heavy game. Clemson is one of the top defensive teams in the country and NC St. isn’t half bad either. It will come down to the offense. NC St. will have to limit Clemson on the offensive glass to have any shot in staying in this game. If they fail to do that then this might be a blow out. Clemson can take over this game by controlling the boards. NC St. will try to keep this a high paced game, but I think Clemson really slows it down and tries to throw off this NC St. team. As a result, Clemson will likely win this game.
Prediction: Clemson 69 – 67 North Carolina St.
Miami vs. Virginia Tech
When: 2:00 p.m. ET ESPN
Spread: Virginia Tech -7.5
In their two meeting this season, Virginia Tech handled Miami pretty handedly with scores of 82-70 and 84-70. Their last meeting was the last game of the season and Virginia Tech’s last game. So these teams are quite familiar with each other and haven’t had a lot of time to change or develop. Miami is coming off of a win against Wake Forest in the First Round of the ACC Tournament, winning 79-71. I think this is where their luck runs out.
This Virginia Tech team might be playing their best basketball all season. They recently beat Duke, and while that may not be totally crazy since Zion didn’t play, they still looked really good in that game. While Virginia Tech is still without senior point guard Justin Robinson, they have been able to lean against junior Kerry Blackshear and sophomore Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Both those guys have really come into their own and made Virginia Tech a force to recon with. Virginia Tech might have one of the best offenses in the country, shooting nearly 40% from behind the arc and around 56% from FG range. Also, if they go to the free throw line then they are almost guaranteeing points, with an average of 76.2% as a team. That is good enough to be one of the best in the country. Their defense is no slouch either, and Miami has really struggled against them all year.
That is why I don’t even think this is a question. Virginia Tech is winning this game pretty handedly, and they will likely beat the spread too.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 81 – 68 Miami