1 UVA vs 16 HAMP
Time: 2:10 PM CT
Spread: UVA -23.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Virginia Cavaliers did still net a No. 1 seed, despite losing the ACC Championship to North Carolina 61-57. The Cavaliers went into that matchup with a five-game win streak and compiled a 26-7 record on the heels of one of the nation’s most suffocating defense.
Taking care of Hampton in second round NCAA tournament action should not prove to be a problem. College basketball oddsmakers agree, setting the line 23.5 points in favor of the Cavaliers.
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Despite its billing as a predominantly defensive team, the Cavaliers showed this year that they may have sufficient offense to make a run in March Madness. For starters, leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon is a legitimate No. 1 option that other teams are going to have to counter.
Brogdon averaged 18.7 points per game this season and is a major threat from behind the arc where he knocked down 72 triples this year. The 6’5” senior guard made leaps in his three years at Virginia, but increasing his efficiency was equally as big as his role increasing.
Brogdon shot just 42.2 percent from the floor as a junior but raised that to 46.8 percent in his final season at Virginia. He has struggled mightily the past two Cavs games though. In the win over the Miami Hurricanes and the loss to UNC, he shot a combined 12 of 37 from the field while averaging 18.5 points over those two contests. The writing is on the wall with the UNC loss, though: If Brogdon throws up a stinker against a good team, Virginia is vulnerable to losing.
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Aiding Brogdon in carrying some of that scoring load are Anthony Gill and London Perrantes, who combine to average another 24.3 points per game.
Gill is a 6’8” senior forward who tallied 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 28 minutes a night this year. He had a quiet but effective night in the loss to UNC, hitting 5 of 8 from the floor en route to 13 points and six boards. Getting Gill going on the interior is huge for Virginia because he is such a consistent source of buckets: Gill shot 55.9 percent from the floor this season and was even better last year (58.2).
Perrantes is a 6’2” junior point guard with the poise and experience to guide a team through March. He averaged 11 points and 4.4 assists per game this year while playing 33 minutes a night, and he is a threat from deep too.
Perrantes knocked down 48.1 percent from behind the arc this season while attempting 4.4 per game. Like Brogdon, he struggled against UNC, hitting just 3 of 14 from the field and 2 of 8 from three-point range. If Brogdon and Perrantes both are off on the same night, it will result in Virginia bowing out early. Just do not expect it to happen against a No. 16 seed like Hampton.
Hampton finished the season 21-10 with a first place finish in the MEAC (and consequently a bid to the big dance). The Pirates concluded its season with three straight victories over Morgan State, Savannah and South Carolina State. The most recent was the 81-69 win over South Carolina State which saw Reginald Johnson Jr and Brian Darden score 21 and 22 points, respectively.
Johnson led the Pirates in scoring this season with 18.3 points per game, and he was accented by the son of former Derrick Chievous, Quinton. He averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds per game. Darden was good for another 13 per game.
The Pirates averaged 75 points per game, but do not expect much of that to translate against a major player like Virginia. The Pirates rolled through its soft schedule and finished 13-3 in Conference play. But this is the big dance, and no No. 16 seed has ever knocked off a No. 1.