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Virginia vs. Gardner-Webb - 3/22/19 NCAA Tournament First Round Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Virginia vs. Gardner-Webb
Date & Time Friday March 22, 2019, 3:10 PM (EDT)
Colonial Life Arena
Columbia, SC
The Line
Virginia Cavaliers -23.5 -- O/U: 131.5
TV Channel
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The Gardner-Webb Bulldogs and the Virginia Cavaliers meet in an NCAA tournament second round matchup in college basketball action from the Colonial Life Arena on Friday afternoon.

The Gardner-Webb Bulldogs come into the tournament as a #16 seed, finishing the year with a 23-11 overall record which included losses to VCU, Virginia Tech and an overtime loss to Furman as well as a pair of wins over Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs finished with a conference record of 10-6, finishing with the #4 seed in the conference tournament, defeating High Point, top-seeded Campbell and Radford in the championship game to punch their ticket to the big dance. David Efianayi led the Bulldogs in scoring in the regular season with 18.3 points per game while Jose Perez added 15.1 points and a team-high 5.8 rebounds and 3 assists per game. DJ Laster is Gardner-Webb’s 3rd double-digit scorer, averaging 13.7 points per game this season. As a team, Gardner-Webb is averaging 78.3 points per game on 48.8% shooting from the field, 39.1% from behind the arc and 71.1% from the foul line this season.

The Virginia Cavaliers come into the tournament as the #1 seed in the South region after finishing the regular season with an overall record of 29-3 with non-conference wins over VCU, Maryland, Wisconsin and Dayton just to name a few. The Cavaliers then went 16-2 in ACC conference play, finishing at the top of the leaderboard as co-regular season champions with North Carolina. The Cavaliers defeated NC State in the quarterfinals before falling to Florida State in the conference semis. Kyle Guy leads Virginia in scoring with 15.6 points per game while De’Andre Hunter is 2nd in scoring with 15.1 points per game. Ty Jerome is the 3rd double-digit scorer for Virginia, averaging 13 points per game as well as a team-high 5.4 assists per game while Braxton Key leads Virginia in rebounding with 5.5 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Virginia is averaging 71.8 points per game on 47.8% shooting from the field, 40.9% from 3-point range, which ranks as the 4th-best 3-point percentage in the country, as well as a 74.6% mark from the foul line this season. The Cavaliers are also one of the nation’s best on defense, leading the country in scoring defense, allowing just 55.1 points per game. The Cavaliers are also allowing opponents to shoot just 38% from the field, the 4th-lowest mark in the nation, and 27.2% from behind the 3-point line, the lowest 3-point percentage against in the country this year.

Gardner-Webb is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against a team with a winning record while the over is 8-3 in their last 11 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600. Virginia is 43-18-1 ATS in their last 62 games overall and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 non-conference games while the over is 5-1 in their last 6 NCAA tournament games.

This feels like a lot of points to lay on the surface, given that this will be the biggest game in quite some time for the Bulldogs and that Virginia has the dubious distinction of being the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed last season. However, I think that the Cavaliers will be eager to redeem themselves after having a year to think about it, and the Cavaliers have suffocated some pretty tough offensive units already this season. I’ll lay the points with Virginia as I see the Cavaliers executing a defensive clinic here.

Virginia -23.5

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and produce winners on a consistent basis. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball.

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