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March Madness is here! In just a few hours, the NCAA Tournament kicks off and one of the first games we have on the schedule is No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Furman. Handicapper Ben Rajavuori gives us his March Madness picks for this one.

March Madness Picks Today: Don't Miss These Virginia vs. Furman Bets for Thursday's Opening Round

Virginia vs. Furman Start Time and Where to Watch

  • Date: March 16, 2023
  • Game Time: 12:40 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: TruTV

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March Madness Picks Today

Virginia vs. Furman Prediction

After a long season, the NCAA Tournament is finally back, and Virginia is ready to wash the taste of an ACC Championship loss to Duke out of their mouths. The first-round matchup between the 4-seed Virginia Cavaliers and the 13-seed Furman Paladins tips off at 12:40 ET and is the second game tipping off today.

Furman comes into the tournament as the Southern Conference champion after winning the conference tournament over Chattanooga. They are led by Jalen Slawson, who was named the Player of the Year in the Southern Conference by the coaches. He averages 15.7 PPG and 7.1 RPG while shooting 55.6% from the field. Mike Bothwell, the team's leading scorer, is a 6'3 guard who attacks the rim and is a First Team-All Southern Conference selection. The team also features JP Pegues, who leads the team in assists and made threes while averaging 12.0 PPG as a 6'1 sophomore.

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Furman's offense is ranked 33rd in adjusted offensive efficiency but only ranks 183rd in defensive efficiency. Furman's tempo is ranked 124th based on their pace of play. They are first in the nation in two-point field goal percentage at 59.1%. However, their offense works against itself. While they are number one in two-point percentage, they are 160th in three-point percentage, yet they shoot threes at the 13th-highest clip in the nation. This is a problem, as they are most efficient inside the arc, but can't seem to get away from launching threes.

Virginia, on the other hand, is ranked 14th in the nation to close out the season, finishing 2nd in the ACC. Besides the veteran leadership of seniors Jayden Gardener, Kihei Clark, and Armaan Franklin, the Cavaliers also have one of the best defenders in the conference, Reece Beekman. Franklin, Gardener, and Clark all average over 10 points per game. The Veteran trio is one of the best in the ACC, and they pose a threat to every team in the country when they are on.

Virginia is led by one of the best coaches in basketball, Tony Bennett. Bennett is a master of controlling the tempo and finding ways to shut down the weapons on the other team. Per usual, Virginia is a top-25 defense, and their offense has looked somewhat improved as well. Coming into the season, Virginia was ranked 18th, and they finished the season ranked 14th. Since their 2-2 conference start, they finished the season 14-5. They have good momentum coming into the tournament, and they have the veteran players to make a run.

This to me is a Virginia play all day. While Furman shouldn't be slept on, I feel like they shoot themselves in the foot on offense. Virginia gives up a lot of threes and they limit twos, and Furman relies on twos to score. They shoot 160th in threes, and Virginia will give them those all day. Maybe they go unconscious from behind the arc and pull off the upset, but Virginia is a good enough defensive team to not let that happen. I'm not sleeping on Furman, but this is a matchup Virginia should cover five points in.

March Madness Pick - Virginia vs. Furman

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Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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