Furman takes on Virginia in the first round of the Tournament in a 4 vs 13 matchup. Furman won the the Southern Conference over Chattanooga, while Virginia is coming off a loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament. My prediction for this game is that Virginia covers the 5.5-point spread. Furman can really score, but the Virginia defense is still very good, and the Cavaliers should win a close game where they cover late. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Furman vs. Virginia Prediction
Virginia is still the same as they’ve ever been under Tony Bennett, which is all about defense.
Armaan Franklin is capable of taking over the game for the Cavaliers if needed on offense. He’s their best player and leads the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game. Jayden Gardner is up next in scoring on the wing and can be a matchup problem there. He averages 12 PPG and leads the team in rebounding at 6 per game. Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman are also steadying forces in the backcourt for the Cavaliers. Clark averages 11 PPG and leads the team in assists per game at 5.4 per game. Beekman also averages 9.4 PPG and leads the team in steals at 2 per game.
Virginia is one of the best defensive teams in all of college basketball this season. They give up 60.3 PPG and also score 68 PPG. They’re also very efficient on offense and are 40th in assists at 16 per game.
On the other side, Furman is one of the best offensive teams in all of college basketball.
The Paladins are lead by Mike Bothwell. He’s their best scorer and leads the team in points at 18 per game. Jalen Slawson is right after him in scoring as a very good sidekick. Slawson averages 16 PPG and then leads the team in rebounds at 7 per game, in steals at 2 per game, and in rebounds at 2 per game. JP Pegues and Marcus Foster round out a great group of guards. Pegues averages 12 PPG and leads the team in assists at 4 per game and Foster averages 11 PPG too.
Furman is one of the best offensive teams in the country this season. They’re 8th in scoring at 82 PPG and they’re 14th in assists per game at 17. On defense, they give up 71 PPG.
This is a huge contrast of styles game between the great offense of Furman and Virginia’s great defense. The Cavaliers should get it done in a very close game and Furman could even be leading at halftime, but Virginia’s style of play grinds teams down and wears them out. The Cavaliers are the play and cover late because of their ability to control the game.
Furman vs. Virginia Prediction: Virginia -5.5
Furman vs. Virginia Odds
Virginia is a 5.5-point favorite against Furman and is at -230 on the money line. The over/under is also at 132. Virginia being favored here makes sense because of how good their defense is, despite Furman being great on offense. The over/under also makes sense because oddsmakers believe Virginia is going to control the game with their defense. This spread should stay where it’s at before tip-off too.
Furman vs. Virginia Key Matchups
Can Marcus Foster matchup with Armaan Franklin? Can Reece Beekman matchup with Mike Bothwell?
Armaan Franklin vs Marcus Foster
Armaan Franklin has been Virginia’s best scorer this season. He averages 12.5 points, 1 assist, and 4 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Marcus Foster most of the game, who averages 11 points, 1 assist, and 5 rebounds per game for the season. Franklin should take advantage of this matchup well. Franklin is a huge reason why I think Virginia covers the 5.5-point spread.
Mike Bothwell vs Reece Beekman
Mike Bothwell is one of the best mid-major guards in college basketball. He averages 18 points, 3 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game for the season. He’ll be matched up against Reece Beekman most of the game, who averages 9 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds per game for the season. Beekman is decent defender and he has a tough test. Bet on Beekman to defend Bothwell good enough for Virginia to cover as well.