UMBC Retrievers (24-10) vs Virginia Cavaliers (31-2)
NCAA BB: Friday, March 16, 2018 at 9:20 PM ET (Spectrum Center)
Line & Odds: UMBC Retrievers +22.5/Virginia Cavaliers -22.5 — Over/Under: 122
FREE NCAA BB PICK VIRGINIA CAVALIERS VS UMBC RETRIEVERS
We kick off March Madness together with a traditional underdog 16 seed vs 1 seed matchup as the UMBC Retrievers take on the top overall seeded Virginia Cavaliers.
The Virginia Cavaliers have had one of the best seasons in program history after capping their amazing regular season with an ACC title. The first thing that should jump off the page for this team is their defense, which is easily the best in the entire country. They allow opponents to score just 53.4 PPG (1st in CBB) on 37.5 FG% (3rd in CBB). They do this by playing a style that forces teams to slow down and when you add that they average just 8.6 turnover per game (1st in CBB) they wear teams out. They are led in scoring by sophomore guard Kyle Guy with 14.1 PPG, but its been senior guard Devon Hall who has been the leader for this team. Hall is averaging 12.0 PPG on 46.5 FG% to go with 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG and 0.9 SPG, which shows the all around impact he brings to the team, but the most compelling stat of all is his 1.1 TOPG. That is a low number for a player who is one of the main ball handlers on the team, so it highlights what the team tries to do as a whole. The knock on Virginia for a while now is that they can’t score with the best teams if a game gets out of hand. The Cavaliers average 67.5 PPG (309th in CBB), but a lot of that has to do with the slow pace they play at because they also average 46.1 FG%, which isn’t bad. Virginia is just a team that plays to its strengths, and it’s worked out pretty well so far.
The UMBC Retrievers have made it back to the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade after defeating Vermont on a Jairus Lyles three-point buzzer beater to be crowned the America East champions. They are led by Lyles, who is averaging 20.2 PPG on 43.6 FG% to go with 5.6 RPG, 3.5 APG and 2.1 SPG as he impacts the game on both ends. The Retrievers do have a second playmaker in K.J. Maura with 11.4 PPG on 46.8 FG% to go with 5.2 APG and 2.0 SPG. Both players will be needed big as the Retrievers do not score efficiently averaging 73.9 PPG (170th in CBB) on 44.5 FG% (188th in CBB). Those numbers are good, but not good enough when matched up against a team as imposing as Virginia is on the defensive end. Defensively, UMBC isn’t too bad as they allow 69.5 PPG (101st in CBB) on 44.0 FG% (192nd in CBB), so it’ll be intriguing to see if they can cause the Cavaliers any problems. UMBC is very active in the passing lanes with 7.5 SPG (36th in CBB), but it’ll still be tough to disrupt Virginia as they are the best team at taking care of the basketball.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
8-0 SU in their last 8 games
11-2 ATS in their last 13 road games
5-0 SU in their last 5 games
4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
FREE NCAA BB PREDICTION VIRGINIA CAVALIERS VS UMBC RETRIEVERS
The UMBC Retrievers making their first NCAA tournament appearance in nearly a decade is an amazing story, but unfortunately it ends here. Virginia is just too fundamentally sound to be beaten by UMBC and a lot would have to happen for them to even get an opportunity to see a victory against the top seeded Cavaliers. I do expect them to cover the spread however, so definitely check on that.