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ACC Tournament Preview: Can anybody stop Duke?

Duke star Wendell Moore

The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament kicks off on Tuesday, and thus the madness will begin. Traditionally one of the best conferences in college basketball, the ACC is dealing with a bit of a down year outside of one team. That team is everyone’s favorite villain, Duke. Despite Coach K and the Blue Devils dropping a big game to North Carolina in their last outing of the regular season, Duke are still the favorites.

Duke’s odds of winning the tournament are -130 with Bovada, and that makes sense. They are a true title contender and have more talent than anyone else in the league. While there are some scrappy teams, none of them can match up to Duke and it is shaping up to be a fairytale ending to Mike Krzyzweski’s coaching career.

No one will fault anyone for betting on Duke. They are the best team and should win the tournament. In Paulo Banchero and Wendell Moore, they will have the best two players on the court in each game. The only concern for Duke is whether they care that much about this tournament. Obviously, they would like to win, but they have title aspirations and this tournament could get left in their blindspot.

Running off that assumption, it opens up the field a lot. North Carolina (+800) and Notre Dame (+950) are the next biggest favorites, but neither have been very impressive. They are simply having down years and aren’t worth betting on.

A team that is worth betting on is Wake Forest. They haven’t been very good for a while, but this year they have a solid squad that makes it tough on their opponents. Their odds are +1000 and they are currently the fifth seed in the ACC tournament. They’ve had some head-scratching losses but also have beat Carolina and Notre Dame this season.

Also, Wake only lost to Duke by two, and that could be a big source of motivation for them. In a season where it’s been Duke and everyone else, Wake Forest could rise to the top of the pool and pull off the upset. Wake guard Alondes Williams is also exactly the type of player that can beat Duke. He is a senior averaging nearly 20 points per game and can dictate the tempo. Against a young and inexperienced Duke team, Williams can control the game and give Wake a shot.

At +1000, this is far from a lock. But Wake Forest have proven their legitimacy this season and it should extend into their postseason play. Outside of Duke, they represent the best value on the board and are the only team worth considering.

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