Points will be hard to come by in today’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight tilt between the #3 Purdue Boilermakers (23-8) and #1 Virginia Cavaliers (28-2) at KFC Yum! Center (8:49 pm ET). The over/under has been set at a minimal 126 with the Cavaliers opening as 4-point chalk.
A spot in the Final Four is at stake, with the winner taking on the winner of #5 Auburn vs #2 Kentucky.
The Boilermakers come into today’s game scoring 76 points per game, which ranks 88th in the nation. They have been better defensively — hence the modest total — currently 52nd in the America at 67 PPG. In terms of adjusted efficiency, Purdue has a top-ten offense (5th), but is actually considerably worse defensively (28th).
If this team plans to reach its full potential, and book their ticket to Minneapolis, it’s going to need to keep up its recent scoring uptick and get more stops at the defensive end.
The offense is paced by Carsen Edwards, who’s pouring in a team-best 23 points per game. The guard has scored at least 26 points in each game of the tournament, to date, including a March Madness-high 42 against Villanova in the Round of 32.
On the boards, Nojel Eastern leads the team, hauling in 6 rebounds a night. The Boilermakers’s performance on the glass has been above average. They sit 76th among the 353 DI teams, averaging 34 rebounds per night.
Purdue is coming off a 99-94 overtime win over Tennessee in the Sweet 16. As has been the case most of the season, Edwards came up big in the win, leading the way with 29 points. But Ryan Cline certainly did his share, pouring in 27 points on 7-of-10 shooting from behind the arc.
While coach Matt Painter will certainly be happy to move onto his first career Elite Eight, he will be disappointed that his team blew an 18-point second-half lead and needed OT to dispatch of the #2 Volunteers.
Purdue won’t be able to afford any similar letdowns against #1 Virginia. This Cavaliers squad hasn’t been at its best in the tournament, but their stats for the year show that they are deft on offense, ranked 5th in offensive rating and 3rd in adjusted efficiency. Due to playing at a plodding prace, UVA is only averaging 72 PPG, 191st overall, but don’t let that disguise how efficient this team can be when its firing.
The Cavaliers pair their highly-efficient offense with an even more impressive D, one which sits 3rd in defensive rating, 3rd in defensive efficiency, and first in scoring (55 PPG) heading into today’s game. Finding weak points in this team is no easy task.
Kyle Guy is the leader at the offensive end, averaging 15 points per game, while Braxton Key leads the Cavaliers in rebounds, grabbing 6 RPG.
As a team, Virginia is run-of-the-mill on the boards, hauling in 33 rebounds per game, which sits 156th in the nation. Given Purdue’s strength when it comes to snatching rebounds, that part of the game could be a difference-maker.
The Cavaliers came out on top in the Sweet 16, but just barely, beating Oregon 53-49 despite opening as 8.5-point favorites. Veteran point guard Ty Jerome led the team in scoring, with 13 points in the win.
With the win, Virginia is now 9-1 in its last 10 games, the lone loss coming in the ACC semifinals to Florida State. Purdue is 8-2 in its last ten, losing to Minnesota in both the penultimate game of the Big Ten regular season and the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Betting-wise, Virginia has rewarded its backers, going 24-11-0 ATS. But don’t add them to your bet slip too quickly because Purdue is a solid 20-14-1 ATS, itself. Both squads have been better than expected this season.
Find the current odds, spread, and over/under projection for Purdue vs Virginia above and good luck betting.