Top Seed Virginia Ready to Slow Auburn in Final Four
The money is showing at the sportsbooks on Virginia (-6) as the Final Four nears, and the Cavaliers look poised to send Auburn to the sidelines. Virginia’s balanced on offense and elite defense should slow the Tigers and their 3-point shooters minus versatile Chuma Okeke, who was injured in the Sweet Sixteen victory over North Carolina.
I made the case for Virginia as an accomplished Final Four and National Championship contender in my pre-tournament previews of the No. 1 seeds. Nothing has changed and in fact the Cavaliers have a very favorable match-up against Auburn, who is making making their first-ever Final Four appearance.
The talented Tigers guards will be limited by Virginia’s top-five efficiency defense, which is especially strong along the perimeter. While Virginia proved vulnerable agaisnt Purdue in the Elite Eight overtime victory with Carsen Edwards going off for 42 points aginast the Cavaliers, adjustments will be made by coach Tony Bennett knowing to that Virginia allowed 70 points or more just four times all season including the NCAA Tournament. That includes against high-scoring North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
The Cavaliers work tirelessly on both ends of the court, and are one of the elite 3-point shooting teams in the country led by Kyle Guy, who got untracked in the Elite Eight overtime win over Purdue after leading the ACC in made 3-pointers and tied for league-best long range shooting at better than 46%. Ty Jerome at the point led the ACC in assists and was key to the Cavaliers having the fewest turnovers in the ACC. De’Andre Hunter is a potential pro to complete the Cavs trifecta of stars that will out-work, out-smart and out-play Auburn to advance to the Final Four.
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay