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Virginia vs. Ohio Odds, Analysis, Betting Prediction for NCAA Tournament (March 19, 2021)

Virginia vs. Ohio Odds, Analysis, Betting Prediction for NCAA Tournament (March 19, 2021) article feature image

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Hauser, Trey Murphy III

  • Virginia plays Ohio in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET, CBS).
  • UVA has COVID question marks after withdrawing from its conference tournament last week, and the spread has already moved in Ohio's favor.
  • Get updated Virginia vs. Ohio odds and our early analysis below.

#4 Virginia vs. #13 Ohio Odds

Virginia Odds-7.5
Ohio Odds+7.5
Moneyline+275 / -345
TimeSaturday, 7:15 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings

Virginia vs. Ohio Instant Analysis

This is a matchup of totally contrasting styles of play.

We all know what Virginia does. The Cavaliers play at a snail’s pace (dead-last in the country) while relying on being uber-efficient in their half-court offense and defense. They score 68 points per game and allow just 60.

Meanwhile, Ohio blitzed its way through the MAC. It averages more than 80 points per game, and scored 85, 87 and 84 in its three conference tournament wins. The Bobcats did it all on the back of Jason Preston. The junior guard averaged 23 points per game on better than 50% shooting during the Bobcats’ tournament run.

Ohio is going to try to upset Virginia by pushing the pace and scoring a lot. Meanwhile, Virginia will try to grind this game to a halt and win a slow-paced, half-court game. I actually lean Ohio to cover in this one. I think Preston could make some magic happen against a Virginia team that will be coming off a COVID pause. — Tanner McGrath

How Virginia & Ohio Match Up

All stats via KenPom.

What To Know About Virginia

Virginia has won this season playing the same way it does every year: with great offensive efficiency and an extremely slow tempo. Behind Jay Huff and Sam Hauser, the Cavaliers, rank 13th in adjusted offensive eficiency, according to KenPom, while playing at the 357th-slowest tempo in the country. Virginia may have problems making big comebacks playing this way (remember UMBC?), but as long as the Cavaliers can control the tempo of a game, they can hang with any team.

They can shoot the lights out from 3 and they won't beat themselves (don't turn it over and excel at the charity stripe). We also know their scheme will lead to dominant defensive rebounding numbers and very poor offensive rebounding numbers as they don't crash the offensive glass in order to get back on defense to prevent transition opportunities.

The problem this year is the half-court defense (while still excellent) is not as elite as it has been in years past, especially on the perimeter. If you have physical guards that can really shoot and/or break down the pack line defense, there are opportunities to score on this Virginia defense, which ranks 34th in Adjusted Defensive Effiicency per KenPom. That doesn't sound bad (and it isn't) but they finished in the top 7 in each of the past 7 seasons under Tony Bennett. Lastly, there's an enormous elephant in the room with the status of Virginia after having to pull out of the ACC tournament due to covid. Lots of uncertainty in that department. I'm not sure if I'd have much faith in the defending champs (yes they still are) making a huge run. — Stuckey

What To Know About Ohio

The Bobcats feature an electric offense that ranks in the 93rd percentile in overall points per possession, per Synergy. They are a phenomenal passing team (top-25 in assists per made field goal) and rarely turn the ball over.

The star of the show is pro prospect Jason Preston — a wonderful facilitator who has also put up 46 points in two MAC tourney games on 19-27 shooting (7-11 from deep). Earlier this season, he went for 31 (with six rebounds and eight assists) in a one-point road loss at Illinois. He's an absolute treat to watch.

However, it's not just a one-man show for an offense that ranks 11th in 2-point FG%. Senior Dwight Wilson is an efficiency monster on the low block, and Ben Vander Plas (who dropped 26 against Toledo) is an extremely effective and versatile four. Preston also has reliable shooters to look for on the perimeter for a team that shoots over 36% from 3. Also, freshman Mark Sears has emerged into a reliable secondary point guard option as the season has progressed.

The Bobcats have struggled on the defensive end this year and can be attacked at the rim. However, they've certainly picked it up on that end since the start of postseason play. — Stuckey

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