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No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Ohio preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Virginia Cavaliers and Ohio Bobcats meet at Assembly Hall in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Watch out for Ohio in the Tourney

Update March 19: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Ohio as of March 19th at 10:30 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Virginia -7: 8% of handle, 22% of bets
Ohio +7: 92% of handle, 78% of bets

Over 131: 82% of handle, 70% of bets
Under 131: 18% of handle, 30% of bets

Update March 18: Here are the updated bet splits for Virginia vs. Ohio as of March 18th at 11:00 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Virginia -7.5: 6% of handle, 20% of bets
Ohio +7.5: 94% of handle, 80% of bets
Over 130: 85% of handle, 73% of bets
Under 130: 15% of handle, 27% of bets

The defending champions of the NCAA Tournament are the Virginia Cavaliers will get their March Madness started Saturday night at Assembly Hall on TruTV as they take on a heavy underdog in the the Ohio Bobcats of the MAC. While not the same unit that cut down the nets two years ago, the Cavaliers are still one of the most potent, if not a bit slow, offenses in college basketball.

No. 4 Virginia: 18-6 (13-4 ACC): At-large

KenPom rating: 11 Overall, 12 Offense, 33 Defense
NET ranking: 12, (5-4 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Sam Hauser, 16 ppg
Key stat: UVA had the best scoring defense in the ACC, giving up an average of just 60.2 points per game.

Virginia ranks No. 357 out of 357 Division I college basketball teams that played a game this season in possessions per game, so the Cavaliers play the slowest style of basketball in the nation. They’ll enter the NCAA Tournament with a better offense than defense in adjusted efficiency, as their offense ranks No. 12 in that category.

The Hoos went on a streak of 11 victories in 12 games before struggling down the stretch in late February with three straight losses. Individually, Marquette transfer Sam Hauser leads the team with 15.5 points and puts up 6.7 rebounds per game. Jay Huff, another senior forward, leads Virginia with seven rebounds per game to go along with 13.3 points per matchup, good for second on the team.

UVA was forced to withdraw from the ACC Tournament due to COVID-19 related issues. Coach Tony Bennett said that they won’t travel to Indianapolis until Friday, because most of the team is still going through quarantine protocols.

No. 13 Ohio: 13-7 (9-5 MAC): Automatic Bid

KenPom rating: 78 Overall, 29 Offense, 174 Defense
NET ranking: 87 (0-2 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jason Preston, 16.6 ppg
Key stat: Ohio had the highest field goal percentage in the MAC, shooting nearly 50% from the field.

The Ohio Bobcats claimed the MAC title with a strong run in the conference tournament capped off by an 84-69 win over Buffalo. One of the best teams in the field in terms of offensive efficiency, they rank 13th nationally in effective field goal percentage at 55.8%.

Balance is the key for the team from Athens, as all five starters average double figures per game. Senior forward Dwight Wilson averages 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, but it’s the ball movement that makes them a headache and a tough out: They average 17.9 assists per game, good for sixth nationally.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: UVA -7.5
Point total: 131.5
Moneyline: Ohio +275, UVA-345

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Ohio +7.5
Point total pick: Under 131.5
Pick to Win: UVA

The Cavs play extremely slow-paced basketball and the Bobcats are very efficient from the field. Throw in the fact that the entire UVA roster is in quarantine this week and this could make for a potential upset.

Virginia still should win this one based on talent level alone, but they’ll definitely be rusty as they take to the floor.