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Ohio vs Virginia Prediction

On Saturday March 20th at 7:15pm EST we will get to see the West Region #4 seed Virginia go up against the #13 seed Ohio Bobcats in a game that could end much closer than the point spread currently shows. A few days before tip off the point spread for this game sits at +/- 7.5 with Virginia listed as the heavy favorite. Can the Virginia Cavaliers repeat their 2019 Championship performance or will we get a repeat of 2018 where Virginia was non-stop in the news for the wrong reason? On the other end of the court the Ohio Bobcats will look to repeat their performances from 2010 and 2013 when the Bobcats took down Georgetown as a #14 seed, and defeated Michigan as a #13 seed in 2012. Ohio has consistently been one of the most shocking 13-14 seeds we have seen in recent years, but can they do it again against the defending champions? Keep reading our Virginia vs. Ohio prediction to find out what we think and which way our model is leaning

Virginia vs. Ohio Game Facts

Virginia Cavaliers
Rank: 15th
Record: 18-6 (13-4 ACC)
Record ATS: 11-11
Over Under Record: 14-9

Ohio Bobcats
Rank: NR
Record: 11-7 (9-5 MAC)
Record ATS: 11-7
Over Under Record: 10-8

Virginia Preview

The Virginia Cavaliersenter this game as the defending NCAA Champions due to the cancelation of last year's tournament, but this team doesn't exactly seem primed to repeat. Virginia finished the year atop the ACC Standings with a 13-4 record in a pretty drastic down year for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Unfortunately due to COVID we didn't get to see Virginia play more than one game in the ACC tournament, which would have been very telling for this team. They were able to beat Syracuse in their only ACC Tournament game of a score of 69-72, a small margin of victory here, which has become Virginia's calling card over the past few years. Play suffocating defense and slow the game down, that is what Virginia will look to do against a lethal Ohio Bobcats team that is getting hot at the right time. Diving deep into Virginia's record they were 12-1 at home, which is great but won't help them at all in Indy this week, they were 6-4 on the road this season which makes you think they may be a bit susceptible to an upset. Against the spread the numbers look pretty bleak for the defending champion Virginia Cavaliers who ended the year with an 11-11 record against the number. Blowing teams out isn't exactly on the Cavs agenda, but the oddsmakers love to favor this Virginia squad, as they have been the favorite in 20 of their 22 games this season. They will be in a comfortable position in this Ohio vs. Virginia matchup with a +/-7.5 point spread for the Cavs to attempt to cover. Keep reading our full Ohio vs. Virginia prediction to see how we feel about the Bobcats in this game.

The trends may point to an early upset for Virginia this year, but the advanced stats love the Cavs. Coming into the tournament Virginia is ranked #11 overall in KenPom's rankings, and their defensive rankings are very impressive. KenPom has Virginia's defense ranked 33rd overall in adjusted efficiency and they rank dead last in tempo metrics. Virginia is going to come onto the floor and attempt to dribble the air out of the ball and the shot clock. An average Virginia possession lasts 20.3 seconds and the Cavs will look to shorten this game as much as they can. On offense Virginia ranks as one of the highest rated teams across the board. Landing at #12 overall in KenPom's adjusted efficiency, 11th in effective FG%, and 15th in turnover percentage, this is a Virginia team that is smart with the ball and smart with their shots. The only issue may be their offensive rebounding where they rank #300 in the country at cleaning the glass on the offensive end. Ohio did a great job boarding the ball in the MAC tournament and they may have a huge edge on that part of the game that can be so crucial.

Virginia comes into this game with all the hype and national recognition, but can they do what they are supposed to do and knock out an Ohio team that has shocked a much higher seed the last two times they were in the tournament? Keep reading our full Ohio vs. Virginia prediction to see how we feel about the Bobcats in this game.

Ohio Preview

Ohio finds them selves in a very familiar place as they enter the 2021 NCAA tournament a #13 seed in the West Region taking on a powerhouse from a top five conference. The Bobcats have been in this exact spot twice in the past eleven years , once in 2010 when the Bobcats truly shocked the world and beat the Georgetown Hoyas squad that featured Greg Monroe in what was never really a close game. Two years later Ohio did it again against the Michigan Wolverines who had both Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr on the roster, and followed that up with a win against South Florida to head to the Sweet 16. In those appearances the Bobcats were a #13 and #14 seed, and this year in 2021 they enter the NCAA Tournament as a #13 seed looking to stun a power five program again. This time they just so happen to be facing off against a Virginia team that may be the returning Champions, but also may be a bit more well known for being the only #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed in the history of the tournament.

In the pre-season MAC coaching polls Ohio was actually voted to finish the year second in the conference, but underperformed and ended the year 5th with a 16-7 overall record. It seemed like this COVID shortened season would be a disappointing one until the MAC Conference Tournament tipped off and the Bobcats took over. Ohio cruised through the MAC Tournament winning games against Kent State, Toledo, and Buffalo, all three teams finished ahead of them in the regular season standings. The Bobcats were able to blow by an injury plagued Kent State team and shot the lights out in that game, next up they faced the regular season Champion Toledo Rockets who had been putting up major points against everyone they faced. Ohio was able to get ahead early and play enough defense to hold off the Rockets in a surprising win where the Bobcats were underdogs against the number. In the MAC Championship the Bobcats were once again the underdog against the number, but came out hot early and coasted to a win. This team was doubted game after game and never stop missing shots. You will hear a ton about Jason Preston before, during, and after this game, but right now this kid can't miss. If you are looking for a team that is getting very hot at the right time it is the Ohio Bobcats, Ohio has been able to consistently hit big shots when they need to and none of their MAC Tournament games were ever in doubt. They have gotten great shooting by Preston and great rebounding from both Dwight Wilson and Ben Vader Plas. Virginia is one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the country and we have a feeling Ohio is going to punish them on the boards this game. The Bobcats haven't been this hot all year though as they finished with an 11-7 record straight up and an 11-7 record against the spread. The Bobcats actually played better as the road team with a 7-3 record against the spread away from home, which may be a helpful piece of info when it comes to betting this game. Ohio has also played very well as an underdog this season with a 5-2 record against the spread while getting points.

The trend data heavily weighs in the direction of the Bobcats, but the advanced data not so much. That being said Ohio is no slouch in the advanced data but Virginia ranks so heavily on the spread sheets. The main issue with the advanced metrics for Ohio is their defense, they don't have any significant rankings when it comes to stopping the other team from scoring. Ohio's offense on the other hand is pretty highly ranked in a few advanced metrics, they are #29 in KenPom's effective FG%, #56 in 3 point percentage, and #11 in 2 point percentage, no matter how this game ends we have a feeling both offenses are going to be taking smart shots. The most important metric when going up against Virginia is the tempo or pace of play, where Ohio ranks middle of the road. Their average possession length is 17 seconds per possession so we don't think that Virginia's slow tempo will rattle the Bobcats in this game. Most of the time when you see Virginia devour a mid major it's because they aren't used to playing that slow and they waste their possessions while the Cavaliers waste the clock.

One last piece of data we love about this game is that Virginia played a MAC team in Kent State earlier this year and barely escaped with a win. Don't sleep on MAC conference teams they have been playing great basketball all year, but can Ohio put together a great game against the defending Champs? Read our full Ohio Virginia prediction below to figure out our best bets for this game.

Full Game Prediction

We have this game circled on our schedules as it could be one of the best games in this year's opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Virginia is technically the defending Champions, but it sure doesn't feel like it, while Ohio is getting hot at the exact right moment. Virginia does nothing flashy and tries to slow the game down to win, Ohio hits big shots and rebounds the ball at a high level. We are leaning Ohio +7.5 in this game because all of Virginia's games are close, but we may even recommend to sprinkle a little bit on the Ohio moneyline. Virginia hasn't been all that impressive this year in a major down year for the ACC and unless you watched every game in the MAC Tournament like we did, you may not know just how impressive Ohio has looked. We are feeling another epic collapse from Virginia in this one. If you are here searching for an Ohio vs. Virginia prediction because you have a gut feeling the Ohio Bobcats will pull this out , we say ride that gut feeling but make sure you place at least one bet with the points. If you want to find out which way our college basketball model is siding with make sure you subscribe to BetQL where you can get projections, predictions, and expert picks for every single game. Win more this March with BetQL!

Brian Hunt
Prediction Written by
Brian Hunt

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