NCAA Tournament Picks: Coastal Carolina vs. Virginia

David Lawrence

Monday, March 17, 2014 8:11 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 17, 2014 8:11 PM UTC

The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will get their chance to become the first No.  16 seed to beat a top seed in the NCAA tournament. Will this happen? It's not likely, but America will be interested in seeing how well Virginia holds up under tournament pressure. Check out where the best value lies on the odds board.

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The Chanticleers can win because...

They are going up against a team that, while capable of blowing out opponents, will often play the kinds of games that do not lend themselves to blowouts. Virginia uses a very plodding and methodological style of offense. The Cavaliers like to make several passes on each possession. They use at least 20 to 25 seconds on the shot clock if not more. They are deliberate and patient, and while those characteristics serve them well and lead to well-constructed possessions that do not lead to turnovers, Virginia is vulnerable to a close game if its perimeter shots do not fall. When a team plays at a slow tempo, it is reducing its margin for error instead of increasing it. If Virginia encounters a shooting slump in this game and Coastal Carolina can manage to keep the Cavaliers off the offensive glass with a reasonable degree of consistency, this game could become close.

Virginia is coming off an ACC Tournament championship in which it played at its preferred pace against Florida State, Pittsburgh, and Duke. The Cavaliers might now be drained, though, and Coastal Carolina could catch them off guard.

The Cavaliers can win because...

They are the far better team, and what's more specific is that they're a really good rebounding team. Virginia's saving grace in this game is going to be its offensive rebounding. Even if the Cavaliers miss a lot of shots from the wings, they have the size and power in the paint to outmuscle Coastal Carolina's frontcourt players and establish control of this game near the basket. Coastal Carolina is a team with very skilled open-court players, but the Chanticleers are just not equipped to handle Virginia's brawn and strength near the rim.

The other thing to say here is that while Virginia can control this game solely on the glass, it does have a great shooter, Joe Harris, who can provide instant offense as well. It's not as though Virginia depends solely on effort plays to win. Take them with your NCAA basketball picks.

Outlook & Pick

Virginia plays games in such a way that it can control the action and yet not deliver a super blowout. Virginia will win comfortably, but it won't cover the NCAA basketball odds here.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Coastal Carolina +20.5

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