South Region Finals Prediction & Free Pick: #1 Virginia vs. #3 Purdue

Date | AuthorAllen Moody

Last Updated: 2019-03-29

The Virginia Cavaliers and Purdue Boilermakers will fight it out for the right to advance to the Final Four on Saturday when the teams meet in the South Region Finals at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. The Cavaliers are favored by 4.5 and the total on the game has dropped slightly from its opening of 127.5 and is now at 126 even though a little more than 55% of the early wagers have come in on the over.

Purdue advanced to the finals with a 99-94 overtime victory over Tennessee, which saw them squander an 18-point lead, but they did do what was needed down the stretch and in the extra session to get the win.

Virginia wasn’t overly impressive in its win over the Oregon Ducks but you can basically say the same for the Cavaliers – they did enough when it mattered to advance to the finals.

Purdue: The Boilermakers were solid from 3-point range against the Vols and that’s what won the game for the them, as they hit 15 of 31 shots and were solid from 2-point range, but dismal from the foul line and you can say the same for Tennessee. For the season, Purdue scores nearly 40% of its points from 3-point range and that typically determines their fate.

Virginia: The Cavaliers were well-below average in 3-point attempts against the Ducks in a game the officials let them play, with the teams combining for just 13 free throws, although that’s also what happens when both teams shoot more 3-pointers than they do 2-pointers.

Game: Purdue likes to play at a slow pace and the Cavaliers like to play at an even slower pace, so don’t expect much up-and-down action in this one. Both teams will put up their share of long-range shots, so whichever team is hitting from the outside will most likely win.

The offenses are comparable, at least in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted ratings, where he has the teams No. 3 and No. 4, but the Cavs are No. 3 in defense, while Purdue is No. 29. Virginia’s 3-point defense is exceptionally tough, which would take away a big part of Purdue’s offense, but have to think the Boilermakers will hit their share even if they have to put up a few more than normal.

Pick: Virginia -4.5

The Cavaliers will be able to play this one at their preferred pace and their strength in defense should be able to nullify Purdue’s strength of shooting from the outside. The Cavaliers are also pretty solid shooting from long range and Purdue is pretty average when it comes to defending the 3-pointer.

Purdue typically does a good job on the offensive boards, although the Cavs are decent in preventing offensive rebounds and while the Cavaliers aren’t as good in that department, the Boilermakers aren’t as good defensively at preventing second chances.

Both teams take pretty good care of the basketball and don’t cough it up often, while neither defense is really adept at forcing turnovers, so everything points to this one being settled by whichever team shoots better and have to believe that’s going to be the Cavaliers.

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