No. 10 Virginia Tech vs No. 7 Florida NCAA Tournament Round 1

No. 10 Virginia Tech vs No. 7 Florida NCAA Tournament Round 1 | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 16, 2021

Friday’s first round of the NCAA Tournament begins with what appears to be very evenly-matched South Region game as No. 10 Virginia Tech of the ACC faces No. 7 Florida of the SEC, with the Gators opening as very short NCAAB favorites.

How to Bet Virginia Tech NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

Tech leads the all-time series with Florida, 5-4, and the last time the two faced off was in 1991, a 79-57 win for the Hokies in Orlando.

Why Bet on Virginia Tech? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Hokies (15-6, 9-4 ACC) will be back in The Dance for the first time since 2019, giving them four straight NCAA Tournament berths to their name, with the 2020 tourney not being played due to Covid-19 implications. This will be the Hokies’ 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They are currently 8-11 (.421) in The Dance.

What Hokies team are we going to see? This team has played just three games in the past five-plus weeks. Virginia, Villanova, Clemson — all tournament teams that VT took down during the season, but how much rust still exists later this week? Mike Young won ACC Coach of the Year honors after enduring opt-outs, off-court issues, injuries and that three-week pause this season. Young is the second coach at Tech to win ACC Coach of the Year and it marks the third time a Tech coach has won (Seth Greenberg; 2004-05, 2007-08).

During the regular season, Virginia Tech made 52% of its shots inside the arc with Keve Aluma (15.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.4 BPG) on the floor.  Aluma was named second-team All-ACC after averaging 15.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and shooting 50.0 percent from the field. He was second in the ACC in free-throw attempts (105) and was second as well in free throws made (76). His 15.9 points per game was seventh best in the league and his 8.0 rebounds were fifth best. Aluma was just the sixth Hokie to be named second-team All-ACC and first since 2019 when Kerry Blackshear Jr. did so.

Tech’s Aluma (8.0 rebounds per game), Justyn Mutts (6.4) and Tyrece Radford (6.1) all average over six rebounds a game. That makes the Hokies one of only four high major schools to boast three or more players to average at least six rebounds a contest, showcasing their balance in rebounding.

Florida ranks No. 37 overall in the Ken Pomeroy ratings, and they are a balanced team overall, ranking No. 40 in offensive efficiency and No. 37 in defensive efficiency.  The Hokies come in at No. 50 overall, No. 55 in offensive efficiency and No. 54 in defensive efficiency.

Why Bet on Florida? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Florida lost star Keyontae Johnson for the season when collapsed during a game against rival Florida State in December. Johnson is back on the sideline but not playing. The Gators were picked to finish fourth in the conference – although that was with Johnson, the SEC’s preseason player of the year. After Johnson’s shocking collapse in UF’s fourth game of the season, Florida managed to regroup and go 11-8 down the stretch in his absence

Tre Mann (16.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.4 APG 1.5 SPG, 40% from the 3-point line) has done his part to keep this team together. Per Synergy Sports data, he’s made 49% of his shots off screens. The Gators led the SEC with a 53% clip inside the arc in league play, too.

The Gators ended the season losing three of their final four games, including two to Tennessee. The latest loss came in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, where Florida was outmuscled inside and Mann simply didn’t get enough help.

Mann is one of only three Gators over the past 25 seasons to put together four consecutive 20-point games, joining Nick Calathes (Jan.-Feb. 2009) and Matt Walsh (Feb. 2004) and will attempt to become the first during that time with five straight. The Gators remain potent on the offensive end despite their shortcomings, as UF led the SEC in field-goal percentage, free throw percentage and three-point percentage.

It marks the Gators’ 21st all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth under head coach Mike White. Florida is one of 12 teams and the only Southeastern Conference team to make every NCAA Tournament since 2017. Florida is also one of 11 teams to win at least one game in each of the past three NCAA Tournaments, nine of whom are also in the 2021 field with a chance to build on those streaks.

This will be the Gators’ third tournament as a No. 7 seed, losing in the first round in 1989 and making the Elite Eight in 2012 from that slot.

Game Trends

  • Hokies are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games as an underdog.
  • Hokies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Hokies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Gators are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
  • Gators are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite.
  • Gators are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
  • Gators are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.

Expert Prediction

  • Florida 70, Virginia Tech 68
 
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