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UNC Shortens to +400 Alongside Louisville & Virginia to Win ACC

John Perrotto

by John Perrotto in College Basketball

Updated Apr 9, 2020 · 4:00 PM PDT

Duke-UNC in Chapel Hill
UNC is gaining ground on the rest of the ACC, up to +400 contenders. Photo from Wikimedia Commons [CCLicense]
  • Freshman point guard Cole Anthony is expected to be a star at North Carolina
  • The forward duo of Jordan Nwora and Steven Enoch make Louisville formidable
  • Duke is considered the favorite to win the ACC at +275

North Carolina has the look of a program that is retooling this season if not outright rebuilding. However, the oddsmakers don’t view the Tar Heels that way.

After sitting at +600 to win the Atlantic Coast Conference for most of the last month, North Carolina’s odds have dropped to +400 in recent days. That puts them as the second choice in the ACC, along with Louisville and Virginia, behind Duke at +275. Here are the Conference Title odds.

Odds to Win 2019-20 ACC Championship

Team Odds
Duke +275
Louisville +400
North Carolina +400
Virginia +400
Florida State +1400
Syracuse +1800
Clemson +2200
North Carolina State +2500
Virginia Tech +2500
Notre Dame +4500
Boston College +5500
Georgia Tech +5500
Miami +5500
Pittsburgh +6600
Wake Forest +10000

Odds taken on November 4, 2019

UNC Freshman Cole Anthony Should Make Big Impact

North Carolina had three players from last year’s 29-7 team that reached the Sweet 16 get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. However, the arrival of freshman guard Cole Anthony means expectations are again high for the Tar Heels.

The son of former UNLV and NBA player Greg Anthony was the MVP of both the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic last spring. Cole Anthony will take over at the point for Coby White. While White was a scorer, Anthony can also shoot but is also considered a better distributor.

Coach Roy Williams has brought in a pair of graduate transfers after recruiting just two in his first 16 seasons in Chapel Hill and both should help. Guard Christian Keeling averaged 18.7 points and 6.9 rebounds last season for Georgia Southern while forward Justin Pierce had averages of 14.9 and 8.9 at William & Mary.

Forwards Garrison Brooks, a 6-9 junior, and Armando Bacot, a 6-10 freshman, should also allow Williams to run a two-post offense, something he has always loved.

Louisville, Virginia Have Look of Dangerous Teams

Three years after Rick Pitino resigned at scandal-ridden Louisville, second-year coach Chris Mack has the Cardinals in position to make a run at the ACC title. Louisville went 20-14 last season, but they went out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a loss to Minnesota, which happened to be coached by Richard Pitino.

Junior forward Jordan Nwora and senior center Steven Enoch both attended the NBA draft combine at the end of last season but decided to return to school. Nwora averaged 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds in 2018-19 and Enoch’s numbers were 9.4 and 5.2.

Virginia won its first national championship last season, compiling a 35-3 record, but its top three players left early for the NBA Draft. Thus, coach Tony Bennett has some reloading to do.

Sophomore guard Kihei Clark and senior forward Mamadi Diakite will have their roles expand after being part of some big moments last March. Jay Huff, a 7-1 junior forward, has looked much improved during the preseason and can step out and make the 3.

Bennett’s teams live and die by the Pack-Line defense. The Cavaliers believe 6-8 senior guard Braxton Key can use his length to help shut down opponents’ top scorers.

Duke Team to Beat Despite Big Losses

Duke had one of the greatest freshman trios in college basketball history last season in forwards Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish who led the Blue Devils to a 32-6 record and a spot in the Elite Eight.

However, all three have moved on. Williamson was the first overall pick in the NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans while Barrett went third to the New York Knicks and Reddish was selected 10th by the Atlanta Hawks.

This season, Duke will count heavily on another freshman, guard Cassius Stanley. An explosive scorer who should help cover for the offensive lost from Williamson and Barrett, Stanley also has prodigious jumping ability.

Point guard Tre Jones, despite being a sophomore, will be counted on to provide leadership after averaging 9.4 points and 5.3 assists this past season. Senior forward Jack White and junior forward Javin DeLaurier gives Duke experience in the front court.

Anthony is talented enough to make North Carolina a serious threat to capture the national title. However, the Tar Heels are a tick below Duke as the backcourt duo of Stanley and Jones make the Blue Devils the pick to win the ACC.

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