The Furman Paladins and the Virginia Cavaliers meet Thursday in NCAA Tournament First Round college basketball action from Amway Center. Furman is 27-7 overall this year. The Paladins won their conference tournament over Chattanooga last Monday. As for Virginia, they’re sitting at 25-7 on the year following a loss to Duke on Saturday. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
Furman posted a 24-7 run across their regular season, ending with consecutive wins over East Tennessee State, Mercer and Samford. In the Southern Conference Tournament, the Paladins took out Mercer 73-58, then Western Carolina 83-80 in the first two games.
Last Monday versus Chattanooga, Furman went into the locker room with a 38-33 edge. The Paladins hit a 50-46 run from there and won the game 88-79. Leading team scorer Jalen Slawson put up 20 points with five rebounds and four assists.
Over on the Virginia side, they went 23-6 in their regular-season campaign. The Cavaliers beat Clemson and Louisville in the final two games. Virginia would then take out North Carolina 68-59 and Clemson 76-56 in their opening two games of the ACC Tournament.
On Saturday versus Duke, the Cavaliers were outscored 24-17 in the first half. Virginia hit a 35-32 second-half deficit and lost 59-49. Reece Beekman led the way on 12 points, and Isaac McKneely put up 10 points with two rebounds.
ANDREW’S FREE PICK
I’ll probably stick with Virginia. The Cavaliers took a tough loss to a scrappy Duke team on Saturday, shooting a rough 33.3 percent from the field with 12 turnovers and a 33-30 rebounding deficit. Prior to that Virginia had been playing well however, and they’ve held opponents to 60 or fewer points in five straight games. As for Furman, they’re on a nice six-game win streak themselves. The Paladins have scored 70 or more points in each of those outings, so they’ll certainly want to keep a quick pace here. That said, I don’t think they’ll be able to work past Virginia’s defense.