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 -5.5 – Over/Under: 130.5
FREE March Madness Pick Virginia Cavaliers vs. Auburn Tigers
The Auburn Tigers have been the underdogs in almost all of their tournament match ups so far. To reach the first Final Four in the program’s history, they’ve taken down some solid teams such as Kansas, a UNC team that many had picked to become national champions and a talented Kentucky team. With a looming matchup against a tough Virginia squad, head coach Bruce Pearl will have his hands full trying to get the Tigers ready. Auburn’s main weapon on the offensive end of the floor is their 3-point shooting. The Tigers knocked down an average of 11.4 3PG (3rd) this season, and have been scorching hot so far throughout the tournament. Auburn shot 43% from long-range against Kansas, and an almost unbelievable 45.9% during their beat down of North Carolina. Although they cooled off a bit against Kentucky, the Tigers need to stay consistent against a Virginia team that specializes in 3-point efficiency.
The biggest problem Auburn has in this matchup is the loss of star forward Chuma Okeke (12 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.9 APG) to a season-ending knee injury. They struggled against Kentucky without him, which allowed Wildcat PJ Washington to put up a monster 28 point 13 rebound game that almost knocked them out of the Big Dance. Virginia will attack the Tigers with their guards, but without Okeke on the floor for Auburn, guys like Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite will have the opportunity to add to the already potent Cavaliers offense.
There’s a reason Virginia is the only No. 1 seed left in the tournament. Despite another career night from Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, Virginia managed to hold the line en route to an 80-75 overtime win in the Elite Eight. The Cavaliers have been lethal all season from 3-point range, knocking down an incredible 40.1% (5th) of their attempts this season. In a matchup that’s likely to be a battle of the guards, Virginia will need its backcourt rotation of Kyle Guy (15.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 APG), De’Andre Hunter (14.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.0 APG) and Ty Jerome (13.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 5.4 APG) to lead the attack against Auburn. All three average at least 40% shooting from deep, and the Cavaliers will lean heavily on them to produce to bulk of their points.
In addition to Kyle Guy, the main offensive orchestrator for Virginia, Ty Jerome, will need a big performance in this matchup. His 5.4 APG is the highest average by far for the Cavaliers, and with Chuma Okeke sidelined for Auburn, Jerome will not only need to find the other guards for open looks, but will need to seek out Virginia’s forwards on cuts to the basket as well.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The OVER is 5-1 in Auburn’s last six games
The Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games
The UNDER is 3-2 in Virginia’s last five games
The Cavaliers are 4-1 SU in their last five games
Free March Madness Prediction Auburn Tigers vs. Virginia Cavaliers
The 3-point shot is a critical part of both of the offense for both of these teams. Auburn has built up some momentum so far throughout the tournament, but Virginia is a much more talented team overall. I think the Okeke injury is really going to hurt Auburn on the boards and on defense in this matchup. I have the Cavaliers taking control of this one.
Pick: Virginia -5.5