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Auburn and Virginia Collide with National Championship Berth on the Line

For the first time in school history, the Auburn Tigers have advanced to the Final Four as they tip off against the Virginia Cavaliers, who are making their first national semifinal appearance since 1983-84. Auburn had a grueling path to the fifth round, knocking off top teams in Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky, while Virginia’s path was much easier with No. 3 Purdue being the only top-five seed it faced. The Cavaliers are a 5.5-point favorite with the total opening at 131 points.

Auburn vs Virginia Game Center

Standout Stats

  • Both teams have been ripping it up down the stretch with Virginia having just one loss since February 11, while Auburn is unbeaten since February 27. The Cavaliers are 13-1 SU and 9-5 ATS in their last 14 games, falling only to Florida State in an ACC tournament semifinal. Meanwhile, the Tigers are a perfect 12-0 SU and 8-4 ATS in their last 12 contests.
  • Virginia and Auburn have been on opposite sides of the total recently as the total has gone OVER in seven of the Tigers’ last nine contests, while the Cavaliers have split their last eight games with four going OVER and four going UNDER. Of Auburn’s last nine, only one game has gone UNDER 130.5 points, and half of Virginia’s last eight matches have gone OVER 130.5 points.
  • Auburn has the large edge offensively over Virginia with the Tigers chipping in 79.6 points per game and the Cavs averaging 71.3 ppg. It is a completely different story on the defensive side of the ball as Virginia leads the nation with 55.4 ppg surrendered this season and Auburn allows 69.3 ppg.
  • The offenses have a similar feel between the two teams, which get a good bulk of their scoring from beyond the arc. Virginia produces 35.4 percent of its points from downtown, while Auburn secures 43.4 percent of its offense from three-point range. That being said, the Cavs have a slightly better shooting percentage from deep, hitting 39.4 percent of their attempts to the Tigers’ 38.3 percent. Additionally, Auburn ranks 193rd in opponent three-point shooting percentage and Virginia ranks third.
  • With both teams electing to pull up from downtown for their offense, neither team is very strong at rebounding with Virginia grabbing 34.9 boards per game and Auburn securing 33.4. In the turnover battle, the Cavaliers average the fewest giveaways per game but don’t earn that many takeaways, while the Tigers are also strong in ball possession and create the sixth-most takeaways per game.

My Best Bet for Auburn vs Virginia

Auburn +5.5

Virginia is coming off an Elite Eight matchup against Purdue, which gets a good portion of its scoring from long range and was able to pour in 75 points against the Cavs. Auburn shoots more threes and at a better percentage than Purdue, so I think it can really put the pressure on Virginia.

Additionally, the Tigers proved in their Elite Eight game vs Kentucky that they can win a slower-paced game, which could be how this game plays out.