The Auburn Tigers meet the Virginia Cavaliers in the first game in the Final Four of the 2019 NCAA tournament at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday night.
Auburn advanced to the Final Four for the first time in their history (having only reached the Elite Eight once before – 33 years ago!), when they beat the Kentucky Wildcats 77-71 in overtime, while Virginia beat the Purdue Boilermakers, also in OT, 80-75.
The Tigers victory over the No. 2 seeded Wildcats in the finals of the Midwest Region on Sunday was all the more impressive as it was achieved without key forward Chuma Okeke, who tore his ACL in the final minutes against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Sweet 16s.
The Cavaliers left it perilously late in reaching the Final Four for the first time since 1984 in beating the Boilermakers.
Purdue had a three-point lead going into the final few seconds, but a foul on Ty Jerome left him with a one-and-one opportunity at the free-throw line. Jerome made the first, but missed the second, only for Mamadi Diakite to tip the ball out for freshman guard Kihei Clark in the backcourt. Clark then fired a one-handed, 40-foot pass to Diakite, who made a short jumper at the buzzer.
With regards to betting predictions, the Cavaliers are the team with the reputation, so they will be the selection of most observers.
The Cavaliers are the bookies favourites for this game, with their line set at -240 with bet365, while the Tigers odds are +215 with William Hill. The value tip here might be for the Cavaliers -5 on the Point Spread at -110 over at Betway Sports.
Pick: Point Spread – Virginia Cavaliers -5 @ -110 (Betway)