ACC Tournament Odds: Who's the Favorite?

Ed. Note: Front paged, but proceed with caution and certainly don't use such information for gambling purposes. (Unless you're putting your kidney on the line. Then, yeah, I whole-heartedly recommend use this information for gambling with your life purposes.)

With Duke's beat down of Virginia last week, the Blue Devils locked up the number one seed for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. That was good enough to draw them fourth-seeded Maryland. The Cavaliers will get the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first round as well.

Duke, by seeding, is the favorite. But is that actually true? First we need baseline talent levels for each team.

I have two models that are efficiency-based like the results that you see at Tempo Free Lax or when HoyaSuxa presents his data. One of my models is raw efficiency data that I adjust for schedules faced and the other uses regressed shooting for each team and then adjusts for schedules. I've averaged the results of these models together to give me my Pythagorean win percentages. My odds for each team getting to the championship game and winning it are. . .


You can click the image to enlarge it.

I gave Virginia a 10% boost for the tournament being held in Charlottesville.

The first thing that jumps off the page -- err, bar graph -- is that Maryland is woefully underrated. They're efficiency darlings in my system. Currently, they rank third in both of my efficiency models with the second best team -- Duke -- tenth in one model while Virginia is the second best ACC club in the other. Duke won the conference on a tie-breaker with their win over the Cavaliers, but they got a team that the computers love as the best team in the conference.

The Graph in Word Form

Duke Blue Devils Scenarios: Duke is given only a 31.6% chance to beat Maryland in their opening game. If they get by the Terps, their odds depend on their opponents. The most ideal situation for them would be a big upset by the North Carolina Tar Heels over the Cavs. Duke is 74.5% to beat their rivals on a neutral field. However, UNC isn't likely to beat Virginia. Should the Cavs hold serve, Duke is only 27.5% to beat them. Put this all together and Duke has a 10.4% chance to win the tournament.

Maryland Terrapins Scenarios: As stated above, Maryland is the favorite in the Duke match up, about 68.4%. If UNC makes the title game, Maryland's championship odds are 86.4% to win. If the Cavaliers win, however, Maryland's 45.1% to win. This gives Maryland a 34.1% chance to win the tournament.

North Carolina Tar Heels Scenarios: UNC is the worst rated ACC team in my system. In their opening game, they are only given a 11.5% chance to win. If they do pull off the upset, they are 25.5% to beat Duke and just 13.6% to beat Maryland. Therefore, North Carolina has the lowest odds of any team to win the conference tournament at just 2.0%

Virginia Cavaliers Scenarios: Virginia is second best team in the ACC based on my ratings. They are big favorites in their match up with North Carolina at 88.5% to move on. If Duke wins their match up with Maryland, Virginia is 72.5% to win. If the Terps 'upset' the Blue Devils, UVA are 53.5% to beat Maryland and win the ACC Tournament.

Personally, I'd like to see a Maryland-Virginia final. I think Maryland -- like the Princeton Tigers -- are woefully under the radar among the human polls (eighth in both polls) and them getting to the finals or winning the conference tournament title will go a long way in helping people recognize the Terrapins.

The only team that would truly surprise me to see win this tournament is the Tar Heels. They're an above-average team, but I have them at 26th in one model and 25th in the other. Good enough to take care of business against a good team -- see the 13-9 win against Johns Hopkins -- but not good enough to be favored to do so.

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