Iowa State vs. Virginia -5 O/U 141
Friday night’s Sweet Sixteen matchup between Iowa State and Virginia is a classic battle of contrasting styles. The Cyclones prefer to go at it with an up-and-down offensive style while the Cavaliers slow you down half court and force you to play at their speed. ISU beat two double-digit seeds in Iona and Arkansas Little-Rock to advance to the Round of 16. Their win over UALR is especially important because the Trojans and Virginia play a similar brand of basketball. Clearly fatigued after a double OT win over Purdue, Little Rock just couldn’t handle ISU’s balanced offense as the Cyclones shot well above 50% for the game. They won’t have nearly as many high percentage looks on Friday with Virginia boasting the fourth-best defensive efficiency rating in the country. And while everyone is focused on UVA’s defensive prowess, don’t forget that they posted near identical offensive numbers to that of Iowa State. The Cyclones averaged 1.20 points per possession this season while the Cavs produced 1.19. Meanwhile, ISU just hasn’t shown the ability to defend at a high level. They ranked seventh in the Big XII is points per possession allowed a 1.08. Winning games in March is all about defending and making life uncomfortable for the opposition. Virginia is too set in its way to allow ISU to control tempo. And I’m not sure the Cyclones’ offense, which is predicated on space and movement, will be able to adjust on the fly to what projects to be a half court game. Play the favorite.