NCAA Tournament: Virginia vs. Gardner-Webb fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Friday, March 22
Game Time: 3:10 ET
Venue: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, SC
All You Really Need To Know About Virginia (29-3)
(ACC), NCAA NET Rank: 1. South 1-seed
Just how much do you believe in Virginia? As sharp and as air-tight defensively as they come, it all works, but … that 1-16 20-point loss to UMBC in last year’s tournament is still too fresh. The Cavaliers were good enough to rip through everyone on the regular season schedule but Duke, right up until they got rolled over by a red-hot Florida State team in the ACC semifinals.
There’s more offensive pop than the team gets credit for, but the philosophy is all about guarding the three, grabbing the rebound, and never, ever, ever turning the ball over. The problem is on the boards. It’s a good rebounding team, but as FSU showed, there’s a problem when the Cavs lose on the glass.
All You Really Need To Know About Gardner-Webb (23-11)
(Big South), NCAA NET Rank: 173. South 16-seed
For the first time ever, the Bulldogs are in the tournament after closing out with five straight wins, including a Big South Tournament title. No, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech weren’t any good, but Gardner-Webb was able to beat both ACC teams, but they sputtered way too often on the road in the Big South.
It’s a sharpshooting team from the outside, and it’s great at keeping up the pace. But the defense can step up with steals to offset an offense that moves the ball around well. Outstanding on the free throw line, but Bulldogs hold up late. It’s a deep enough team to hold up and not get gassed.
What’s Going To Happen
U … M … B … C.
You don’t think Virginia is going to be a wee bit jacked up to make an early statement after getting bounced out by a 16 last year? Gardner-Webb can score, and it’s aggressive enough to make the Cavs sweat for a little bit, but can you say buzzsaw? Virginia will open this up in the second half.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Virginia 88, Gardner-Webb 59
Line: Virginia -23.5, 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