- No. 4 Virginia is a 5.5-point favorite over No. 13 Furman in an NCAA Tournament South Region first-round game Friday in Orlando
- Furman is in the tournament for the first time since 1980
- A look at the Furman vs Virginia odds and predictions can be found below
A part of March Madness for the first time since 1980, #13 seed Furman will look to pull an upset when it meets #4 seed Virginia in an NCAA Tournament South Region first-round game at 12:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Amway Center in Orlando.
Furman (27-7, 18-13 ATS) is on a six-game winning and has won 14 of its last 15 games, including defeating Chattanooga 88-79 in the Southern Conference Tournament Championship Game. Virginia (25-7, 13-18-1 ATS) lost to Duke 59-49 in the ACC Tournament Championship Game, ending it four-game win streak.
The game will be televised by truTV.
Furman vs Virginia Odds
|Furman||+190||+5.5 (-115)||Over 131.5 (-115)|
|Virginia||-235||-5.5 (-105)||Under 131.5 (-105)|
Virginia is favored by 5.5 points over Furman and is a -235 pick on the moneyline in the college basketball odds, giving it an implied win probability of 70.15%. The Cavaliers are listed at +4000 in the NCAA Tournament championship odds.
The winner goes on to play either San Diego State (27-6) or Charleston (31-3) in the second round of the March Madness bracket.
Odds as of March 15th at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Long Wait Ends for Furman
It has been 43 years since Furman last played in the NCAAs. It is their seventh trip in school history with the other six coming in a 10-year span from 1971-80.
Furman has a dynamic senior duo in forward Jalen Slawson, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, and guard Mike Bothwell.
Slawson is one of the top stat-sheet stuffers in the nation with averages of 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocked shots. His 55.6 field goal percentage leads the conference, and he is third in blocks and four in steals.
In the win over Chattanooga, Slawson finished with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting with five rebounds and four assists. It was his eighth game of the season with at least 20 points.
Slawson is a large part of the reason why Furman is eighth nationally in scoring (82.1) and 18th in field goal shooting (48.3%).
Furman defeats Chattanooga to take the SoCon Tournament Championship.
Jalen Slawson (@jalenslawson) led the Paladins as he has all season with 20 points and 5 rebounds in the win.
The 6’7” Senior is averaging 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds on the season.
— The College Basketball Guy (@NCAABBallGuy) March 7, 2023
Sophomore guard JP Pegues added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists despite missing all seven three-point attempts. Bothwell made 12 of 13 free throw attempts on his way to 16 points and sophomore forward Alex Williams contributed 12 points and six rebounds in a reserve.
Bothwell is Furman’s leading scorer at 18.0 points a game and is 10 points away from becoming the fifth Paladins player to reach 2,000 in his career.
Pegues averages 12 points and four assists, ranking second in the Southern Conference in the latter category. Junior guard Marcus Foster is scoring 10.6 points and pulling down 5.2 rebounds a game.
Furman also won the regular-season conference title. The Paladins notched non-conference wins against Penn State and North Carolina State, power conference teams who are in the NCAA field.
Virginia Has Experienced Lineup
Three seniors – guards Kihei Clark (160), forward Jayden Gardner (148) and guard Armaan Franklin (121) – have combined to play 429 games at the collegiate level.
Franklin is Virginia’s leading scorer with an average of 12.5 points a game. Gardner is averaging 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds and Clark has a 10.9 scoring average.
Junior guard Reece Beekman and (5.3) and Clark (4.9) rank 1-2 in the ACC in assists. Beekman is also second in steals with a 1.8 average and spearheads a defense that is eighth in Division I in points allowed (60.3).
🌟 ACC MEN'S BASKETBALL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR 🌟
Reece Beekman, @UVAMensHoops! 🏀⚔️
— ACC Men's Basketball (@accmbb) March 6, 2023
While Virginia held Duke to 59 points in the ACC title game, it wasn’t enough to overcome a poor offensive showing by the Cavaliers.
They shot just 33.3% (16 of 48) overall and 23.5% (4 of 17) from three-point range. Virginia wound up with just four field goals (16) than turnovers (12).
Virginia’s 17 first-half points matched the lowest-ever total in ACC Tournament history.
Beekman topped Virginia with 12 points, four assists and four steals. Freshman guard Isaac McKneely scored 10 points off the bench while Clark was just 1 of 9 from the field and had six points.
Furman vs Virginia Prediction
Furman can put the ball in the basket, but the Paladins haven’t seen a defense quite like that of the Cavaliers. It’s hard to bet against Virginia at a relatively low number.
Pick: Virginia -5.5 (-110)
Season record: 32-29 (+0.2 units) ATS, 4-10 (-5.5 units) ML
Other first round March Madness previews: