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Auburn vs. Virginia - Final Four picks and betting tips

Mar 31, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; Auburn Tigers guard Jared Harper (1) shoots against Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyler Herro (14) during overtime in the championship game of the midwest regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

MARCH MADNESS: FINAL FOUR

Auburn Tigers vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Of the three No. 1 seeds from the ACC, Virginia is the last one left standing, while Auburn has earned its way to its first Final Four by taking out three NCAA blue-blood programs – Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Auburn Tigers

Auburn has been in four high-scoring, up-tempo games (averaging 85 points a game and allowing 76) and have been carried by guards Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, who have combined to score 143 points with 36 assists, including most of the shots at critical times in games. They have been the veteran leaders, but Auburn has been deep – 10 players have averaged 10 or more minutes to wear down opponents with their running style. The loss of forward Chuma Okeke (torn ACL) is big, because he led the team in both rebounding and steals, but this where their depth comes into play. The Tigers have been averaging more than 30 3-point shots a game, which is why they’ve been out-rebounded in every game in the tournament.

Virginia Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have got to the Final Four the way they played all season – consummate team play. They don’t go deep into their bench, but have balanced scoring, including Ty Jerome (15.2 ppg in the tournament), De’Andre Hunter (13.5), Mamadi Diakite (13.0) and Kyle Guy (11.8). They have played strong, clean interior defense – opponents have attempted just 28 free throws in four tournament games – and force teams to try to beat them from outside – of the 202 shots attempted against them, 102 of them have been 3-pointers (making 40 of them). Virginia has out-rebounded each of its opponents and forced them to be long-range bombers, which isn’t typically a tournament recipe for success.

Auburn vs. Virginia: By the Numbers

Auburn (30-9): Against the Spread (21-16-1); Over/Under (21-17, 55.3 percent over, 44.7 percent under); In the Tournament – Against the Spread (3-1); Over/Under (four over); Virginia (33-3): Against the Spread (25-11); Over/Under (17-19, 47.2. percent over, 52.8 percent under). In the Tournament: Against the Spread (2-2); Over/Under (one over, three under).

Auburn vs. Virginia: Pick and Best Bets

Auburn hasn’t folded yet as underdogs and getting 5½ points should have a lot of action coming their way. The Tigers’ veteran guards will help dictate the pace and give them a chance to win outright, so take the points.

Virginia plays great interior defense, but Auburn bombs from long range. The bigger bet here is on the over/under. Auburn has averaged more than 30 3-point attempts a game in the tournament and Virginia has averaged more than 25. If either or both teams get hot, hitting the over on 130½ should be accomplished.

If the game is close down the stretch, free throws should seal that deal – Virginia has hit 84 percent from the line in the last two games and Auburn has made 72 percent in the last three.


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