The Virginia Cavaliers earned a No. 1 seed in the East region
after upsetting Duke in the ACC tournament and moving into the Top 3 of the AP rankings. Virginia won only its second conference title in its 60-year
history with the ACC and will be looking to advance past the round of 64 for the first time since 2007. The Cavaliers are entering the tournament with the
stingiest defense in the nation as they allow the fewest points and rebounds and rank in the Top 65 in three other categories.
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Coach Tony Bennett employs a man-to-man defensive scheme that confuses and shuts down most offenses Virginia faces. On paper the squad has a clear road to
the Sweet 16 before it starts to face tough, stylistic matchups. Letís take a closer look at Virginiaís 2014 NCAA tournament odds with picks, predictions
Virginia 2014 NCAA Tournament Story Lines
Virginiaís first matchup in the East region is against the No. 16 Costal Carolina Chanticleers on Friday, March 21. The game has already been installed as
one of the biggest mismatches in the first round, and if Virginia advances the team will play the winner of the Memphis versus George Washington matchup.
The squad could potentially face Michigan State in the Sweet 16 and a tough lineup of Villanova, Iowa State or North Carolina in the Elite Eight round if
no major upsets happen before then.
The Cavaliers played fantastic during their last matchup against Duke and have managed to win nine of their last 10 games, with the teamís only loss coming
during an overtime game against Maryland on the last day of the regular season. Virginia held Duke to 38 percent shooting from the field and harassed the
team into missing a whopping 39 shots. Virginia also received a standout performance from its guard Malcolm Brogdon, who had 23 points, three rounds and an
assist for the squad.
Virginia 2014 NCAA Tournament Odds and Key Trends
Virginia went from receiving the 10th-best 2014 national title odds to the sixth-best at +1500 after winning the ACC over the weekend.
Virginia is currently a 21-point favorite for its first matchup of the tournament against Coastal Carolina
. The squad ended the season with an 18-10-2 ATS record and a 13-15 totals mark. Virginia is 5-3-2 ATS over its last 10 matchups and 2-2 ATS in its last
four games as a double-digit favorite.
Virginia allows the fewest points in the nation at 55.3 per game, is ranked ninth in opponentís field goal percentage at 38.5, and also gives up the fewest
rebounds in the nation with only 25.8 per game. On the offensive end the squad averages only 65.9 points per game, but it does have two double-digit scores
in Brogdon and Joe Harris, who average 12.6 and 11.7 points per game, respectively.
Virginia 2014 NCAA Tournament Picks and Predictions
Virginia is an elite defensive squad, and in a single-elimination game, producing key stops at the end of games may be one of the biggest requirements for
success. On paper the Cavaliers have a manageable road to the Final Four, and once a team makes it to that point, anything is possible. Virginiaís biggest
bracket challenge, the Michigan State Spartans, are still dealing with injuries and getting back into form, and they might not even be there to challenge
the No. 1 seed in the Sweet 16.
Virginia has excellent value at +1500 and will probably be the most underrated No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Expect the team to make a Final Four
appearance but ultimately fall short of an NCAA title. However, for those looking at Virginia, the squad definitely has value to wager on.
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Read more articles by George Monroy