Virginia vs. Clemson - 3/9/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Clemson Tigers (23-8) at Virginia Cavaliers (29-2)
College Basketball: Friday, March 9, 2018 at 7:00 pm (Barclays Center)
The Line: Virginia Cavaliers -8 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
We have some ACC tournament semifinals action on Friday as the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers battle the #4 seed Clemson Tigers.
The Clemson Tigers reached the semifinals with a thrilling 90-82 victory over Boston College in their last outing. Gabe DeVoe led the Tigers with 25 points on 8 of 18 shooting with 3 threes and a share of the team-high with 4 assists. Shelton Mitchell came 2nd with 21 points while Marcquise Reed added 11 points and Aamir Simms contributed 10 points and 8 rebounds with a pair of blocks to round out the quartet of double digit scorers for the Tigers in the win. Elijah Thomas added 8 points while also pulling down a team-high 12 rebounds in the winning effort as well. Reed leads Clemson in scoring with an average of 16.3 points per game while Thomas leads the Tigers in rebounding with 7.8 rebounds per game this season and Mitchell leads Clemson in assists with 3.7 assists per game this season. As a team, Clemson is scoring 73.2 points per game on 45.6% shooting from the field, 37% from behind the 3-point line and 74.8% from the foul line this season.
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The Virginia Cavaliers come into this one fresh off of a 75-58 quarterfinal win over Louisville in their last outing on Thursday. Kyle Guy led Virginia with 19 points on 7 of 14 shooting with 4 threes and a team-high 7 rebounds. Devon Hall came 2nd with 14 points and a team-high 5 assists. De’Andre Hunter added 12 points while Ty Jerome added 11 points with 4 assists and Mamadi Diakite chipped in 10 points to round out the double digit scoring for UVA in the winning effort. Guy leads the Cavaliers with an average of 14 points per game while Jerome leads Virginia in assists with 3.7 assists per game and Isaiah Wilkins leads the Cavaliers on the glass with 6.4 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Virginia is scoring 67.5 points per game on 46.2% shooting from the field, 38.9% from behind the arc and 75.8% from the foul line this season. Virginia also owns the stingiest defence in the country, allowing the fewest points per game in D-I, giving up just 52.9 points per game on the 3rd-lowest field goal percentage against, allowing opponents to shoot just 37.5% from the field and 30.3% from behind the arc, the 7th-lowest 3-point percentage against in the nation.
Clemson is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a win and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Friday games while the under is 5-2 in their last 7 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600. Virginia is 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games overall and 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 conference matchups while the under is 42-17-1 in their last 60 games following a win. The favorite is 7-1-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings between these two teams.
I don’t envision this being a flashy, pretty game, as the Tigers and Cavaliers are both gritty, grind it out teams. However, Virginia has the edge on the defensive end, and while Clemson has a balanced team that can potentially give Virginia some trouble, the Tigers did let Boston College hang around for a long time before finally putting the game away late. I think Virginia's defense will suffocate Clemson and while it won't be by much more, I think the Cavaliers bag a cover here.