The Pick: UVA (-1.5) via Vegas Insider
You know that meme of Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man? That's what we're getting in this battle between pack-line defenses. Texas Tech's D is more aggressive than Virginia's, forcing considerably more turnovers and slightly more frequent blocks. However, it commits more fouls in the process, which re-balances the scales against a good free-throw shooting Virginia team that rarely commits turnovers.
But while the defenses are relatively equal, there's no question that Virginia has the superior offense.
Don't get me wrong: Texas Tech is plenty capable on offense. Jarrett Culver has a bright future in the NBA, and both Davide Moretti and Matt Mooney have shown the ability to get hot from three-point range. But in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency, Virginia ranks 25 spots ahead of Texas Tech and has much better marks in terms of effective field-goal percentage, turnover percentage and offensive rebound percentage.
The Cavaliers have three excellent three-point shooters in Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and De'Andre Hunter, as well as a capable long-range threat in the form of Kihei Clark. And if there's one obvious way to beat this Tariq Owens-anchored defense, it's by shooting over the top of it. No one has been able to do it yet in the tournament, but that's partially because the Red Raiders have yet to face an opponent that relies on threes for at least 35 percent of its scoring, like Virginia does.
This should be a great, low-scoring affair, but Virginia is at least two points better than Texas Tech. Unless Guy reverts to shooting as poorly as he did in the first three rounds, the Cavaliers ought to be able to win this one without any buzzer-beating drama for a change.