Game to be played at United Center, Chicago, IL
A much-anticipated night of all-ACC action in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight begins in Chicago on Sunday when top-seeded Virginia meets No. 10 seed Syracuse in the Midwest Region final. The Cavaliers contended for their third straight regular-season crown in the high-powered conference while the Orange finished ninth and squeaked into the NCAA Tournament, but both are a win away from joining a league mate in North Carolina or Notre Dame – who play later in the evening – in the Final Four.
Virginia will be playing for its first Final Four berth since 1984 after shooting 56.1 percent to fend off Iowa State 84-71 on Friday. “I feel like we’ve just gotten better and better,” ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon told reporters following a 12-point effort versus the Cyclones. “We’ve battled through our ups and downs, and it’s a huge accomplishment.” Syracuse is used to long tournament runs, but this one – in a season where coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for nine games by the NCAA and the squad dropped five of six down the stretch – has defied the odds. “These guys have fought all year, and every game we’ve been behind, we’ve been in some tough situations, and they’ve battled through them all year,” Boeheim told the media after his team erased a late nine-point lead to tip Gonzaga 63-60 on Friday.
TV: 6:09 p.m. ET, TBS
LINE HISTORY: No. 1 seed Virginia opened as 8-point favorites over No. 10 Syracuse and the line has yet to move off that number. The total saw immediate action however. The Over/Under opened at a low 122 and was very quickly bet up two whole points to the current number of 124. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (22-13, 19-15 ATS, 17-17 O/U): The Orange’s trademark zone defense has stifled opponents in the tournament, allowing an average of 53.7 points. Leading scorer Michael Gbinije (17.8 points per game) has topped the 20-point mark in his last two games and guard Trevor Cooney has broken free from a late-season slump by averaging 13.3 points and shooting 50 percent from 3-point range in the tournament. Boeheim is in the Elite Eight for the seventh time and is seeking his fifth Final Four berth.
ABOUT VIRGINIA (29-7, 19-14-1 ATS, 14-20 O/U): While Brogdon has been an inconsistent tournament performer, shooting 36.8 percent from the floor in eight career games, fellow senior Anthony Gill has been a steady leader. Gill had 23 points and eight rebounds versus Iowa State, is averaging 20.3 points on 71.9 percent shooting in this year’s tournament and has scored in double figures in all but one of those eight career March Madness contests. Another senior, Mike Tobey, has emerged in this year’s Big Dance with 36 points on 17-of-23 shooting in 44 minutes off the bench.
* Syracuse is 4-0 ATS in its last four games overall.
* Virginia is 12-3-1 ATS in its last 16 games overall.
* Under is 4-0 in Syracuse’s last four NCAA Tournament games.
* Under is 11-2 in Virginia’s last 13 versus Atlantic Coast conference opponents.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Bettors are all over the dog in this matchup with 65 percent of wagers on Syracuse. As for the total, bettors think while the game may not be a high scoring affair, it will go over the low number with 64 percent on the over.