Florida State vs. Virginia
When: 7:00 p.m. ET ESPN
Spread: Virginia -9
The teams have had one meeting earlier this year in which Virginia was able to best Florida State 65-52. That game was all Virginia. There was no doubt from the start, that Florida State was going to lose that game. Florida State is a different team now, though. We’ve talked about it before, we all know how good Virginia’s defense is. However, so is Florida State’s. Florida State is long and can really cause teams to struggle scoring down low. Although, they are one of the better teams guarding in the paint, they still struggle defending the three which is Virginia’s strong suit on offense. Virginia is prolific from three point range with Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome. That could pose an issue for Florida State defensively. On the offensive end for Florida State, they have been playing really good basketball. They shocked me yesterday with how prolific their offense was against Virginia Tech. However, they probably won’t have as much success against a much better defensive team like Virginia. Virginia should win this one in a closer game than last time, but still just out of reach.
Prediction: Virginia 69 – 59 Florida State
Duke vs. North Carolina
When: 9:00 p.m. ET ESPN
Spread: Duke -3.5
This is the game everyone has been waiting for. This will be, hopefully, the first full Duke/North Carolina game in which Zion Williamson plays the whole game. Zion went out in their first meeting where he suffered a Grade 1 knee sprain 36 seconds into the game after his foot ripped through his shoe, causing him to slip. He did not return to that game and North Carolina ended up winning 88–72. You and I both know that he is coming back with vengeance. There is no way to evaluate the two times these teams have played this year as a benchmark for this game because Zion didn’t play hardly at all in either of them (36 seconds total). This will be a completely different feel and as much as I don’t want to jump to conclusions, I think Zion is going to make it his personal mission to absolutely destroy North Carolina tonight. I think that -3.5 might be too easy. Duke wins this one handedly.
Prediction: Duke 83 – 78 North Carolina