Ohio Bobcats vs. Virginia Cavaliers – March Madness (March 20, 2021)
Virginia is still technically the defending national champions. They’re also just three years removed from becoming the first #1 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Which version of Tony Bennet’s program shows up Saturday night at Assembly Hall is what everyone in Charlottesville is dying to find out. Before we get to an Ohio vs. Virginia pick, let’s get caught up with each team.
- What: #4 vs. #13 matchup in the West Region
- When: 7:15 pm EDT, 3/20/2021
- Where: Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall – Bloomington, IN
- Coverage: truTV
- Line: Virginia -7.5
- Money Line: Ohio +285, Virginia -345
- >Total: 131
Get to know the name, Jason Preston. He’s a 6’4” junior point guard who’s been lighting up the box scores for two straight seasons, reminding a lot of folks my age of a young Jason Kidd.
|Jason Preston Stats – Sophomore and Junior Year at Ohio|
|Season||Points||Assists||Rebounds||Steals||FG %||3PT %|
Nobody knew who Preston was coming out of high school and yet now he’s on the radar of every single NBA scout as a potential first-round pick. He’s the catalyst behind why Ohio has been able to prosper in what’s been a challenging season.
They’ve had games rescheduled and others canceled, but the fact remains that the Bobcats have lost just one game since January 16th. After mowing down their competition in the MAC Tournament to stamp their ticket into the dance, Ohio now gets their second crack at a P5 opponent.
The Bobcats traveled to Champaign earlier in the season and nearly knocked off top-seeded Illinois in the Fighting Illini’s own building. Ohio ultimately lost that game 77-75, but they demonstrated they can hang with upper-echelon programs. Those worried Preston might shy away from the bright lights, know that he lit up Ayo Dosunmu and company for 31-6-8 and committed zero turnovers. The dude’s the real deal.
Seniors Sam Hauser and Jay Huff are a load. Hauser’s a 6’8” hybrid forward who shot 43.4% from deep this season – the fourth consecutive year he’s connected on over 40% of his three-point attempts. Huff’s a legit 7’1” and also drained over 40% of his treys this year for the ’Hoos.
That doesn’t include having to forfeit to Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament due to not being able to roll out a sufficient roster. We still don’t know exactly who will and won’t suit up on Saturday in Bloomington, adding further intrigue to those looking for a 13 over 4 upset.
Those who assume the Cavs are in good shape simply because they hail from the ACC, take a closer look at their season schedule. I won’t fault them for getting obliterated by Gonzaga – that was to be expected. However, Florida State handed Virginia a 21-point loss and Virginia Tech pounded the Wahoos by 14. The Cavaliers best wins are against Clemson and North Carolina.
Ohio vs. Virginia Pick
I’m torn between who wins in this Ohio vs. Virginia prediction. That tells me that 7.5 points is too large of a cushion for this Cavs squad to be laying. UVA only scores 68.6 points per game; the Bobcats have poured in at least 83 in six of their last seven.
Four Ohio players average over 12 points per game and they’re one of the best passing teams in the nation. Preston has an uncanny ability to find the open man. That prowess to consistently put his teammates in prime positions to score is going to make it incredibly difficult for Tony Bennet’s bunch to create separation on the scoreboard.
In other words. the Bobcats covering the spread is one of the best first round games to bet in March Madness.