NCAA March Madness: Virginia vs. Furman betting preview, odds and predictions

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NCAA March Madness: Virginia Cavaliers vs. Furman Paladins betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 4 vs. 13 matchup in the South region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Virginia Cavaliers face the Furman Paladins with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting odds, in-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

 

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How to watch Virginia vs. Furman

When: Thursday, 12:40 p.m. ET

Where: Orlando, Florida

Watch: truTV

Odds for Virginia vs. Furman

Spread: Virginia -5

Total: 132.5

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

South Region No. 4 Seed Virginia Cavaliers

This Virginia team looks a lot like the ones you’ve seen in the past. The Cavaliers play a lot of low-scoring games, where they rely on their defense and the half-court offensive ability of senior point guard Kihei Clark to get them across the finish line. Virginia also has some other solid scoring options in guards Reece Beekman and Armaan Franklin, as well as forward Jayden Gardner. The problem with this year’s Cavaliers group is that the defense isn’t quite as good as it has been under Tony Bennett. This team leans more towards very good than elite on that end of the floor, which makes it hard to buy into this group having a high ceiling. 

South Region No. 13 Seed Furman Paladins

The Paladins suffered a close five-point loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions early in the year, but the team did beat the South Carolina Gamecocks a few games later. That shows that this Furman team is capable of hanging with high-major programs, and the way it can do so is with a good offense. The Paladins were just outside the top-30 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency this year, and the team has four players that average at least double digits in scoring. This is not an easy team to slow down offensively, but Furman isn’t very good on the defensive end. So, the Paladins need to be shooting well in order to win games. But Mike Bothwell is a player to watch coming into March Madness. He had 36 points in a game against Stephen F. Austin in December.

Virginia vs. Furman matchup analysis

The stink of being the only No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 will never leave Virginia at this time of year. The first thought from most bettors will be to fade the Cavaliers, especially against a dangerous double-digit seed. Furman just might fit the bill.

The first thing to know about the Paladins is that this is the No. 1 team in the country in 2P% at 59.1%. Bob Richey’s team shares the ball about as well as anybody in search of a high-percentage shot and finds a lot of them. However, this isn’t just a team that gets to the rim and gets a bunch of easy buckets. Interestingly, despite a clear strength of finishing at the rim, Furman also has one of the nation’s highest 3P Rates at 46.4%. That is a key metric to look at in any game against Virginia because of the Cavaliers’ pack-line defense that forces a lot of long-distance shots.

Furman is less successful on 3s, cashing in at just 34.4%, which ranks 160th in the nation. When you look at this Virginia defense, shooting from distance is essential. The Cavaliers have a 3P Rate Against of 39.7%. The question for handicappers here is whether or not they feel like Furman can get inside and have success or if they’re just going to have to take a bunch of 3s and hope for the best. To be honest, a lot of March Madness upsets stem from teams that make a lot of their 3-pointers. That may play well for the Paladins here.

Of course, it is also important to point out that virtually nobody in the SoCon plays defense. This is going to be a much tougher nut to crack in search of an upset. Furman’s defense is also something of a mystery. The SoCon is full of teams that bomb away from deep like there’s no tomorrow. Virginia is a little more measured, but the Cavaliers are at their best when making 3s themselves. They’re shooting 35.3% on their triple tries and also have one of the lowest turnover rates in the nation.

Like a lot of 13 vs. 4, 12 vs. 5, etc. upset bids, this game will come down to whether or not the mid-major conference champion makes 3s or not.

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