NCAA Tournament First Round Picks: Furman vs. Virginia 3/16/23

The Furman Paladins take on the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday. This game offers an interesting contrast in style as the powerful Furman offense attempts to break through a strong Virginia defense. But only one team can win as we give you our best bet for this match between Furman and Virginia from Orlando.

Furman vs Virginia betting tip

This game will be played on Thursday, March 16, 2023 at 12:40 p.m. ET at the Amway Center.

Why choose Under:

✅ This is the toughest defense Furman has faced this season. The Paladins rank eighth in college basketball with 82.1 points per game, but are being held back by the Cavaliers’ packline defense.

✅ Virginia are unlikely to change their offensive playstyle, which is great news for the Unders. Virginia is 360th out of 363 teams in Division I at the adjusted pace according to Kenpom, so we should see less possession and points than usual for Furman.

Furman Paladins: Finally on the big stage

Last season, the Furman Paladins were stripped of an NCAA tournament berth when they lost to the Chattanooga Mocs in the Southern Conference Finals. This year they got revenge on the Mocs and beat them in the SoCon title game to get to the NCAA tournament. Now, for the first time since 1980, the Paladins are looking to make the most of the big dance.

For Furman, the question in this game is whether their dynamic duo can make a difference against the Virginia defense. Mike Bothwell and Jalen Slawson were great against the SoCon competition. But asking them to play just as well against one of the best defenses in college basketball might be asking too much in their tournament debuts.

Virginia Cavaliers: Trying to avoid another upset in the first round

The Virginia Cavaliers made it to the ACC Tournament championship game that season, losing to the Duke Blue Devils in the finals. But the Cavaliers had won four straight games before that loss to Duke, and the Cavaliers are looking good going into the NCAA tournament.

Of course, Virginia won’t be able to step out as an NCAA tournament favorite without reminders of her 2018 loss to UMBC. But the Cavaliers have continued to rely on their philosophy of putting defense above all else after that loss and they will look to use that defense to take Furman out on Thursday.

Virginia will also try to draw on her tournament experience here, led by veteran guard Kihei Clark. Clark is averaging 10.9 points and 5.4 assists per game this season. Look for him to be a stabilizing presence for the Cavaliers as they look to serve as the higher seed here to set up a second-round matchup with either San Diego State or Charleston. NCAA Tournament First Round Picks: Furman vs. Virginia 3/16/23

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