NCAA Tournament: Auburn vs. Virginia fearless prediction and Final Four game preview.
Date: Saturday, April 6
Game Time: 6:09 pm ET
Venue: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
All You Really Need To Know About Virginia (32-3)
(ACC), NCAA NET Rank: 1. South 1-seed
The Cavaliers took Purdue’s best shot, and another, and another, and survived to win the tournament’s best game with an 80-75 overtime thriller.
The experience, mental toughness, and adaptability all came together despite getting bombed on by Carsen Edwards and the Boilermakers from three, but everything About Virginia worked when it absolutely had too.
The ball movement, the three-point shooting ability, and the lack of big mistakes. Under all of that pressure and with all of the issues, Virginia turned the ball over just five times.
Virginia showed it was able to pick up the tempo when needed, but it also managed to slow the game down and take control when it needed to in the second half. This is a fearless team that can hit the boards – it outrebounded Purdue 39-31 – and it hit ten more free throws than Purdue did.
And that’s the game. Tight defense in key situations, the big rebound – like getting the tap out on the late missed Boilermaker free throw – and winning the mistake battle. The Cavaliers do all of the little things right.
All You Really Need To Know About Auburn (30-9)
(SEC), NCAA NET Rank: 18. Midwest 5-seed
And here comes the offense.
Auburn was able to hold its own on the boards in the 77-71 overtime win over Kentucky, and the seven blocks were big on the inside, but it was the relentless offense that was able to overcome a rough start to rally back to get in the game, eventually force overtime, and then take over in the extra time.
The Tigers hit their threes, and Kentucky – who doesn’t normally shoot from the outside – didn’t. They hit their free throws, and UK didn’t, making just 57% of its tries.
It might be a cliché, but how do you go deep into the tournament? Having unflappable, veteran guards helps, and the combination of Bryce Brown and Jared Harper have been able to come through the entire tournament.
Yes, the Tigers got away with not having Chuma Okeke – who tore his ACL in the North Carolina game – but all that means is the nation’s second-best three-point shooting team will have to be that much better.
What’s Going To Happen
When will Auburn flinch?
It didn’t have an issue with North Carolina’s size and length, and it managed to overcome everything Kentucky came with, but now it has to face the No. 1 scoring defense in college basketball.
Virginia was No. 2 in the nation in three point defense, and Auburn has to hit from the outside to win. But as Purdue found out, Virginia can hit from the outside when needed, too.
With a week to prepare, Virginia will figure out how to slow down the Auburn outside shooters just enough – having to deal with the shooting depth in US Bank Stadium will be an issue – and will get just enough offense of its own to get to the national championship.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Virginia 67, Auburn 64
Line: Virginia -5.5, o/u: 130.5
ATS Confidence: 2
5: Watching games by Vegas pool working on fruity drink No. 3
1: Watching game online while doing TPS reports in your cubicle