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March Madness Predictions: Virginia Tech vs Florida

  • March 18, 2021
  • by admin

The Virginia Tech Hokies (15-6) will play the Florida Gators (14-9) in the First Round of the Midwest Region in the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday.

The Hokies got off to an impressive start this season but undoubtedly crumbled during the final weeks of the campaign, as Virginia Tech jumped out to a four-game winning run and an 8-1 start to kick off the season only to end the year 4-4 over their last eight contests while losing in their debut of the ACC Tournament against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Despite the subpar end of the campaign, the Hokies were one of the best teams in the ACC and finished with the third-best record in Conference-based games, losing just four of 13 contests. Even though their season’s end was not the one they expected based on how they started the year, they’re still a team that is quite capable of beating almost every opponent in the country when they’re on a good day. Their biggest strength lies in their defense, as they give up “only” 65.5 points per game, something important considering they’re ranked 173rd in points scored per tilt thus far (72.1). Their best player so far has been Keve Aluma, who averages a team-high 15.6 points per contest.

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The Gators suffered from the same inconsistencies the Hokies had towards the end of the campaign, and they finished the season with a paltry 4-5 record over their last nine games — that included back-to-back losses against Missouri and Tennessee, and they also lost against the Vols in the SEC Tournament’s Quarterfinals. Florida finished as the fifth-best team in the SEC, and they didn’t really stand out in any category as a group — they were ranked below the 120th mark in points (124th), rebounds (197th) and assists (304th) per game. They should undoubtedly rely on the play of Tre Mann, though, as the sophomore guard currently leads Florida in both points (16.0) and assists (3.4) per game while also grabbing 5.0 rebounds per contest. His ability to make an impact on both ends of the court will be desperately needed here against another well-balanced team such as Virginia Tech.

It’s quite hard to determine which team stands above the other here, as both teams dealt with inconsistent performances all year long and both looked disappointing in their respective Conference tournaments. The Gators might have a slight edge since they’re the highest-seeded team between the two, but the Hokies have enough in them to pull the upset. Expect the Hokies to advance to the next round despite being the lower-seeded team.

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