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South Region Preview: Virginia Listed at +140 to Reach Final Four

Coach Tony Bennett of the Virginia Cavaliers
Will Tony Bennett shed any tears this weekend? Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire.
  • Virginia became the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 in last year’s NCAA tournament
  • Villanova won the tournament last year, defeating Michigan 79-62
  • None of the top-five seeds in the South won their conference tournaments

The NCAA Tournament is almost here and Virginia as listed as the favorite to reach the Final Four in the South Region of the bracket.

South Region: Odds to Reach 2019 Final Four

Team Odds
Virginia +140
Tennessee +300
Purdue +450
Villanova +650
Kansas State +1000
Cincinnati +1400
Mississippi +3000
Wisconsin +3500
Saint Mary’s +4000
Oregon +4000
Oklahoma +5000
Iowa +5000
UC Irvine +6500
Old Dominion +7500
Colgate +20000
Gardner-Webb +20000

*odds taken 3/18

Virginia listed as a favorite is nothing new, but Virginia coming through as a favorite would be.

Last year, it was the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers that knocked out the Cavaliers, becoming the first 16-seed to ever win a game in the tournament.

Virginia didn’t only lose that game, they lost it by 20.

With that fresh in the minds of many, here’s the case why they aren’t the pick to win the South bracket.

Virginia Entering Tournament After Disappointing Loss

The ACC conference was stacked this year and thee ACC teams ended up with #1 seeds in the tournament – Duke, North Carolina and Virginia.  When it came to the ACC tournament, Virginia suffered defeat similar to their performances in the NCAA tournament as of late.  No, the Florida State Seminoles aren’t UMBC, but they were still significant underdogs.

Virginia is a talented team, no doubt, especially behind NBA prospects Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter. They are solid on both offense and defense but paying at a price of only +140, it’s too easy to remember all the times they’ve failed as favorites and find value elsewhere.

Could Defending Champion Villanova Reach the Final Four?

Villanova won last year’s NCAA tournament and is coming off an impressive run to win the Big East conference tournament.  Despite these impressive accolades, the Wildcats are still listed at +650 to make the Final Four.

They became the first program to ever win three straight Big East Tournament titles and deserve your attention heading into the tournament.  Phil Booth and Eric Paschall give Villanova two experienced scoring options averaging more than 16 points per game.

Maybe more important than any individual player is head coach Jay Wright, who is widely regarded as one of the best in college basketball and has two National Championships to prove it. He has shown an uncanny ability in recent years to get his team to win tight games in high-pressure environments.

Tony Bennett has shown just the opposite at Virginia.

The debate here is whether Virginia can erase history and do something it’s never done before: win four NCAA Tournament games. With Villanova returning more than four times the money, the question marks surrounding Virginia can’t possibly justify their short price. 

Fade the Cavaliers and sprinkle some action on the defending champions.


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