Auburn Tigers (30-9) at Virginia Cavaliers (33-3)
NCAA March Madness: Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 6:09 pm (US Bank Stadium)
Line and Odds: Virginia -265, Auburn +218
FREE March Madness Pick Virginia Cavaliers vs. Auburn Tigers
Saturday, the 1st seeded Virginia Cavaliers will host the 5th seed Auburn Tigers. The Cavaliers are the only 1st seed remaining in the tournament with Michigan State’s upset over Duke, while Auburn is the lowest seed remaining and has defeated North Carolina and Kentucky.
The Virginia Cavaliers have met all expectations set upon them going into the tournament. Along the way to the final four, the Cavs have taken care of Gardner-Webb, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Purdue in that order. Including their four tournament wins, Virginia has only lost once their last 14 games against Florida State. Although they gave up 75 points against Purdue, Virginia’s scoring defense is the best in the nation, allowing only 55.4 PPG to opponents, making them one of only four teams to allow under 60 PPG this season. Teams that play Virginia only make 38.4% of their field goals, and even more impressively only hit 28.7% from three-point range.
The downside of Virginia leaning on their defense to win games is that their offense only scores 71.3 PPG, a number which has haunted them against teams like Duke (who they lost to 80-53). If their defense fails and Auburn’s high-flying offense is able to break through the nation’s top ranked defense in the semifinals, Virginia is going to need to find ways to keep up with the second-best three-point shooting team in the country. Kyle Guy leads the Cavs in scoring with 15.6 PPG and makes an impressive 81.8% of his free throws, and guard De’Andre Hunter is right behind with 14.9 PPG. Outside of these two and fellow guard Ty Jerome (13.3 PPG and the team’s assist leader with 5.4 APG), no other player on Virginia significantly contributes to the team’s offensive production.
On the other side, the Auburn Tigers are the hottest team in the country and have an explosive offense. After upsetting Tennessee to win the SEC Tournament, the Tigers defeated UNC and Kentucky along the way to the Final Four as a 5th seed. Auburn averages over 80 PPG this year and is the second-best shooting team from three. Their offense is led by Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, who each average over 15 PPG. Harper also averages 5.8 assists per game each outing, making the 5’11” guard an essential part of Auburn’s scoring machine, including 26 points in the last game against Kentucky. In the Tigers’ best performance all season, Auburn knocked out North Carolina in a 97-80 victory over the Tar Heels. Auburn shouldn’t need to worry much about its defense, which holds opponents to just 68.9 points per game and is playing a Virginia squad that struggles to consistently top 70 points. If Auburn can get hot and hit a lot of three-pointers early, Virginia will struggle playing catch-up in the second half.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Virginia is 32-2 SU as a favorite
Virginia is 13-1 in its last 14 SU
Auburn is 11-1 SU in neutral court games
Auburn is 14-1 SU in its last 15
Free March Madness Prediction Auburn Tigers vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Auburn’s offense poses a real threat to a historic Virginia defense, especially if they get up early in the game. Still, that is if they can get ahead early. Virginia allows 55 PPG and doesn’t give up three-pointers easily, which will prove very useful in stopping the Tigers early. Don’t be fooled by Auburn’s offense: this defense is real. Take Virginia.