Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Virginia Cavaliers Pick 3/12/21
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-8 SU, 14-10 ATS) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (18-6 SU, 11-12-1 ATS)
When: Friday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.
Point Spread: GT +4/UVA -4 (BAS - You could be betting on games at -105 instead of -110! Stop wasting your hard earned loot!)
Last Time Out:
Georgia Tech defeated Miami 70-66; Virginia beat Syracuse 72-69.
About the Matchup:
The first ACC semifinal of the day matches the (still) defending national champion against a team that’s clearly on the rise after a decade in the wilderness. There might not be a hotter team in the southeast right now than Georgia Tech, which has won seven straight and gone from not even being on the bubble to being well past being on the bubble. The Yellow Jackets are almost certainly in the field now after their seventh straight victory, and now they get a chance to put a stop to Virginia’s dominance against them.
The Cavaliers have won eight in a row against the Yellow Jackets, who haven’t beaten Virginia since Jan. 2016. But in the past two years, Georgia Tech has figured out how to play with Virginia, losing the past three meetings by an average of just five points. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers aren’t playing up to their standards as of late, as they’ve only managed to cover in one of their past six games, and that was against a sinking Louisville squad. Making matters worse in Tony Bennett’s eyes, Virginia’s not getting the job done on defense, as the Cavaliers hit the over against five of six opponents. If the defense doesn’t get straightened out soon, Virginia’s in trouble. Can they figure it out and hold off Moses Wright and company?
Scouting the Yellow Jackets:
This has to be Moses Wright’s game for Georgia Tech, and he should be well motivated to make sure that it is. Wright has seemingly put the Yellow Jackets on his back down the stretch, but he didn’t play well in either game against Virginia this year. He’s also not exactly coming off a great game, as he was just ordinary against Miami.
But the Georgia Tech guards bailed him out against the Hurricanes, and Jose Alvarado was the one player that the Cavaliers couldn’t stop in two meetings. When the teams faced off in Charlottesville, Alvarado struck for 20 points, and the Yellow Jackets shot 60 percent from behind the arc, in part because the Cavaliers simply couldn’t track Alvarado.
That’s the way that Georgia Tech has to play this game because the Jackets have already shown that they can handle Virginia’s defense if they’ve got a solid inside and outside presence. Keeping Wright on the floor and scoring would go a long way toward the Jackets getting a win here.
Scouting the Cavaliers:
The offense did its job against Syracuse, as four starters ended up in double figures, and the fifth was Reece Beekman, who hit his only shot of the game on the final play against the Orange. But the defense has got to be a lot better because if Virginia allows anyone — especially Alvarado — to do what Buddy Boeheim did on Wednesday, it’s going to be hard for the Cavaliers to reach the ACC tournament final.
The good news for the Cavaliers was that Sam Hauser finally gave them a great performance by scoring 21 points against Syracuse and hitting all five shots that he took from inside the arc. But his and Jay Huff’s defense will be much more critical in this game because the Cavaliers have got to keep Wright from taking over the game. Boeheim did take over the game in the final minutes, and if not for Beekman’s heroics, Virginia probably would have lost that game in overtime. The Cavaliers can’t expect to get away with another subpar effort on defense against a resurgent opponent.
Nothing to lose. Georgia Tech very nearly threw away its NCAA tournament bid on Thursday against an upstart Miami team because a loss to the Hurricanes would have been disastrous for the Yellow Jackets’ profile. But there are no bad losses left in the ACC tournament for Georgia Tech to potentially take, as a loss to Virginia wouldn’t hurt the Yellow Jackets, while a win would only improve their seed. If Georgia Tech did get to the ACC final, they’d either have the chance to lock up the automatic bid, or they’d be taking a loss against Florida State or North Carolina, both sure NCAA tournament teams at this point.
Because of that, there’s no longer any pressure on Georgia Tech, which means the Jackets can play loose from the opening minute. Conversely, Virginia is expected to claim another ACC championship and has the pressure of facing a team it’s already beaten twice. When a team isn’t afraid of Virginia’s defense, which the Jackets shouldn’t be, it gets a lot harder for the Cavaliers to do what they do best.
Georgia Tech will Cover If: The Yellow Jackets can keep Wright on the floor. Tech has nothing to be nervous about at this point, so the big question for Josh Pastner’s crew is whether they can keep Wright playing and playing effectively. If Wright fouls out again, it’s going to be very difficult for Tech to keep ahead of the Cavaliers.
Virginia will Cover If: The Cavaliers can lock down early. Virginia is all about defense, and the defense hasn’t been where it needs to be. Against a team like Georgia Tech, which has already shown it can shut down the Cavalier offense, a strong defensive effort is absolutely critical to Virginia’s success.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The Jackets didn’t play all that well against Miami, but it’s tough to play in your first game in a conference tournament, especially against an underdog that has nothing to lose. The same applies to how Virginia didn’t play well against Syracuse, but the Cavaliers have been struggling for a few weeks now, as opposed to the Jackets having one-off game.
I don’t see Virginia beating Tech a third time with how the Cavaliers are playing at the moment. Give me the Yellow Jackets to cover here. Bet your college hoops picks for FREE this week by taking advantage of a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000 at Betnow!