Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament Action: (10) Syracuse Orange vs. (1) Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia is 7.5 point favorites over #10 seeded Syracuse in Sweet 16 action on TBS Sunday night.
Virginia is 7.5 point favorites over #10 seeded Syracuse in Sweet 16 action on TBS Sunday night.

10 SYR vs 1 UVA
Time: 5:09 PM CT (TBS)
Spread: UVA -7.5
Total: 124.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Virginia Cavaliers took down No. 4 seeded Iowa State 84-71 to advance to the Sweet 16, and college basketball oddsmakers are projecting Virginia to get past No. 10 Syracuse today in action on TBS. NCAA oddsmakers list the Cavaliers as 7.5 point favorites in the game with an over/under of 124.5.

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Virginia raced out to a 14-point halftime lead in the win over Iowa State, cruising through the second half to emerge with the victory. Forward Anthony Gill led the way with 23 points on 8 of 10 shooting (including 7 of 10 free throws) while also coming up with eight rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block.

Virginia put three other scorers in double figures, including getting 18 points from senior center Mike Tobey off the bench. Tobey averaged just 7.3 points per game this season for Virginia, but he has been big in this tournament. The seven-footer had 10 points in the win over Butler, and he had eight points and six boards in the opening round victory over Hampton.

Though a senior, Tobey is not a high usage player. However, he is efficient and can be a factor for the Cavaliers when he receives ample minutes. In the win over Butler he had more points (10) than minutes (9), illustrating that he may be due to receive more time than what he has been allotted this season. Conditioning plays a big role, here.

The Cavaliers will need a bigger game from star player Malcolm Brogdon. He had just 12 points on a pitiful 4 of 13 shooting night, though he did come up with five assists, a block and two steals. Brogdon had 22 points in the win over Butler, and the Cavs need him to return to that level of production in their biggest game of the season thus far. Considering he is averaging 15 points per game this tournament, he should be a bigger factor, and he averaged 18.4 points per game during the regular season for the Cavs.

Gill has been UVA’s best player in this tournament.

The 6’8″ forward has posted 19, 19 and 23 points per game in the Cavaliers opening three games of the tournament and shot 23 of 32 from the field in those three games combined. He was good for 57.5 percent of his shots this season and the senior averaged 13.9 points per game this year. His 6.2 rebounds per game also led the team.

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Syracuse has been something of a surprise team this tournament. The Orange knocked off Gonzaga 63-60 to advance to the Sweet 16, and wins over Middle Tennessee State and Dayton paved the way for that game.

In the win over the Zags, Michael Gbinije had 20 points on 8 of 23 shooting and was one of three Orange starters to reach double figure scoring in the game. Despite winning, Syracuse shot just 36 percent from the field and 5 of 15 from three-point range.

Syracuse did average just 70 points per game this year while shooting a paltry 42.7 percent from the field and 36 percent from three. The Orange may just not have the offense to stick with Virginia, and the fact that the Cavs play such suffocating defense hardly works in the favor of a team whose top three scorers feature two players shooting 36 percent or worse from the field.

Gbinije is a star and can fill it up, but unless Syracuse gets some big production from Malachi Richardson (who shot just 3 of 14 against Gonzaga) and Trevor Cooney, this game has the potential to be a bit of a blowout. Vegas oddsmakers somewhat agree in setting the line rather heavily in favor of Virginia for a Sweet 16 game.

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