1 UVA vs 4 ISU
Time: Mar 25, 7:10 PM (ET) – CBS
Spread: UVA -5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The No. 1 seeded Virginia Cavaliers continue to roll. It pounced on Hampton in the first round, winning 81-45, then it knocked off No. 9 seeded Butler 77-69 to advance to the Sweet 16. The Cavaliers will face a tough Iowa State team, but college basketball oddsmakers are favoring Virginia by 5 points while setting the over/under at 141.
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Virginia used a big second half to defeat the Butler Bulldogs. It trailed just 25-23 at the half, but outscored Butler 77-69 in the second half to win by eight.
Malcolm Brogdon came through with a big game, hitting 8 of 14 from the field and 6 of 6 from the free throw line en route to 22 points, five rebounds and five assists. Anthony Gill joined him with 19 points on an impressive 7 of 9 shooting night, while also grabbing eight rebounds in the game.
Brogdon may just be starting to gather steam. In the opening game against Hampton he shot just nine times (hitting four) to score 11 points. He took a much more assertive role in a much more meaningful game against Butler, and it was his first big game since his 24 points night against the Miami Hurricanes Mar. 11. He struggled in Virginia’s 61-57 loss to UNC on Mar 12, hitting just 6 of 22 from the field and 2 of 9 from three-point range.
Brogdon averaged 18.6 points, four rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for Virginia this season, and he increased his work load each of his three seasons as a Cavalier. Brogdon attempted 13.6 field goals per game at a 47.1 percent clip while knocking down 40 percent of his threes. He struggled shooting the ball his first two seasons in the NCAA, but his increased offensive prowess was key behind Virginia’s success— given the Cavaliers strong identity as primarily a defensive club.
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Gill has been big in this tournament. Through its first two games he has knocked down 15 of 22 from the field while averaging 19 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He had struggled a little in his three games prior to the tournament, but he has been knocking down shots all year. Gill shot 56.7 percent from the field this year and 74.5 percent from the line, a vital cog on the Cavaliers’ frontline. He also came up with 1.1 steals/blocks per game while playing 28 minutes a night.
Virginia’s other big player is junior guard London Perrantes. He has not fared well so far in the NCAA tournament, averaging 10 points and 3.5 assists per game. During the season he averaged similar numbers (10.9 and 4.3), but the Cavaliers need him to come up big in this tournament.
Perrantes keeps his turnovers down (just 1.8 per game), and he is a proficient launcher of the triple at 47.9 percent. He also averages 1.1 steals per game for the Cavaliers and saw 68 minutes between the first two games. He is the best backcourt threat for Virginia.
Iowa State knocked off No. 13 seeded Iona in the opening round, winning 94-81. In the round of 32, the Cyclones disposed of No. 12 seeded Arkansas Little Rock by a count of 78-61. Now, the Cyclones face their first big test in the Sweet 16, having drawn relatively weak opponents the first two games.
Georges Niang came up huge in the Cyclones’ victory over ULAR. He shot 11 of 18 from the field en route to 28 points, six rebounds and three assists. Niang had 28 points on 11 of 23 shooting in the victory over Iona. This season he averaged 20.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while playing 33.2 minutes per night.
In the first two games Niang has averaged 37.5 minutes per game, and if ISU is to get any further in this tournament is going to be requisite that Niang continues to have monster games.
The Cyclones have four other players averaging double figures this season: Monte Morris, Abdul Nader, Jameel McKay and Matt Thomas. Thomas shined the brightest in the most recent win, with 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting while also grabbing four rebounds and dishing four assists. Thomas had 14 points, six rebounds and three assists in the win over Iona.
The Cyclones need Morris more involved, though. He attempted just eight field goals in the win over ULAR (hitting three) for eight points, three rebounds and four assists. He had 20 in the opening round win over Iona, and the Cyclones need that type of performance if it is to win as it is favored to. He averaged 13.9 points per game during the season, but he has been relatively inconsistent throughout the tournament’s first two games.
The Cyclones shot 56.6 percent from the field and 11 of 21 from three-point range against ULAR, while turning the ball over just six times in the game. That type of proficiency would go a long ways towards knocking off a team like Virginia whose defense tends to force a lot of bad looks while also causing mass turnovers.