- 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
*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 is looking to bounce back after a historic 1st Round exit last year to UMBC.
Only 3 teams have ever won the NCAA Tournament the year after losing in the Round of 64 (Indiana in 1987, UCLA in 1995, Duke in 2015).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 18, 2019
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 Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) March 17, 2019
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.
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) March 17, 2019
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.
PICK: VILLANOVA (+650)
SBD’s Regional Previews
- Odds to Win the West Region of 2019 March Madness Tournament
- Duke Listed as Odds-On Favorite to Win East Region of March Madness Bracket
SBD’s Other March Madness coverage:
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