Virginia is predicted to finish behind UNC & Duke in the ACC this season, but they are still in the preseason top 10 of many voters, they get our vote & NCAA basketball pick tonight.
The Virginia season began with an easy win over Morgan State a few days ago as many people had them in their NCAA Basketball Picks. This was an expectedly smooth opener, played almost like an exhibition game, which was meant to work out some kinks and prepare the Cavaliers for the road ahead. The best part of the game was limiting Morgan State to only 48 points. Virginia has not lost its way on defense, which is where this team wins games and establishes its identity.
George Washington beat Lafayette by nine, but the Colonials really won a lot more easily than the spread suggested. They raced out to a 50-28 lead and were able to coast in the second half. Cavanaugh had 15 points and 17 rebounds. Larsen had 24 points with 11 rebounds. Garino added 17. It was the balanced production coach Mike Lonergan is looking for to start the season.
Virginia is playing its first road game of the season. George Washington won its first home game of the season against Lafayette.
What’s The Pick?
Coach Tony Bennett’s team has finished in first place in the ACC in each of the past two seasons. North Carolina has gone through a down period, and even though Duke won the national championship last season, it was not as consistent in the ACC regular season as Virginia was. The Blue Devils also had a comparatively more difficult schedule. The Cavaliers do lose Justin Anderson, one of their tougher defenders and better perimeter players, from last season’s team, but they bring back a few important pieces, especially team leader and late-game shotmaker Malcolm Brogdon, plus a high-value transfer in Austin Nichols from Memphis. They are going to be tough to beat, but now they face one of the first true tests of the early season.
Virginia goes up against George Washington on Monday. The Colonials have a deep and experienced team, one which expects to be better than the team which failed to make the NCAA tournament last season after reaching March Madness in 2014. George Washington has Tyler Cavanaugh, a transfer from Wake Forest, on hand to provide more depth and rebounding, and he certainly shows promise as the answer to many of this team’s needs. Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen return to fuel this team’s offense, giving it depth and balance across the various positions on the court. It’s an enticing matchup between Virginia’s defense and George Washington’s offense, between schools which aren’t geographically far apart.
The Virginia defense is hard to face at any point in a season but with Virginia fresh and rested and having its ideal lineup on the court, it’s going to be hard for George Washington to get used to having to play very focused basketball for each and every possession. It’s a short number on Virginia on the NCAA Basketball Odds, so take them. They’ll will wear down GW and pull away. Take Virginia.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Virginia -5.5 at Bovada