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No. 5 Virginia vs. No. 12 UNC-Wilmington Prediction, Game Preview

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Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington prediction and game preview, as the No. 5 Cavaliers and No. 12 Seahawks face off in the NCAA Tournament.


After succumbing to Syracuse in the Elite Eight last season, Virginia is back and ready to make amends. The Cavaliers will have a tough test against UNC-Wilmington, who has a knack for making teams turn the ball over. Here is a preview of the 5-12 matchup in the East region.

Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington Game Preview

Date: Thursday, March 16
Venue:  Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Region: 
East

Virginia Strengths

The Cavaliers were able to break out of their elongated offensive slump late in the year, and freshman Kyle Guy was the one leading the way. While many wondered why Guy was not playing more than he had been, the fact that he is getting extended minutes now shows that Tony Bennett ultimately made the right move. Along with veteran London Perrantes and freshman Ty Jerome, Guy gives the Cavs another threat from downtown.

Virginia Weaknesses

The Cavaliers rank second-to-last in the league behind Virginia Tech in total rebounds and offensive rebounds per game. That could ultimately doom the Cavaliers, especially if their shots aren’t going down. We’ve seen them go into an offensive funk before, and those lack of second-chance points could be crucial.

Virginia Cavaliers In-Depth Analysis

UNC-Wilmington Strengths

Rick Pitino disciple Kevin Keatts has his team in The Dance largely because of contributions from Chris Flemmings, an unrecruited walk-on transfer from Division II; sophomore wing C.J. Bryce; and point guard Denzel Ingram. This is a team that likes to play fast. The Seahawks run, press and force turnovers. But they also take care of the basketball.

UNC-Wilmington Weaknesses

This is a team that needs to force turnovers or else the defense gets exposed. The Seahawks rank No. 242 in the country in scoring defense, giving up 74.9 points per game. UNCW gave Duke a fight in the first round last year, and this year's team is better. But the squad relies so much on creating turnovers, which is risky business.

UNC-Wilmington Seahawks In-Depth Analysis

Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington By The Numbers

Virginia Statistics

  • Scoring Margin - 11.7 (17)
  • Rebound Margin - 3.5 (74)
  • TO Margin - 3.5 (14)
  • 3PT FG - 38.9% (27)

UNC-Wilmington Statistics

  • Scoring Margin - 10.2 (33)
  • Rebound Margin - 2.1 (116)
  • TO Margin - 4.2 (8)
  • 3PT FG - 36.6% (104)

Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington Prediction

There are few things that you can count on more than Virginia playing tough defense, and that will haunt the Seahawks. UNC-Wilmington relies on turnovers, and the Cavaliers just don't do that. This could be a close game, but Virginia will wear the Seahawks down with immense pressure.

Virginia vs. UNC-Wilmington Score Prediction: Virginia 65, UNC-Wilmington 51

MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket, Previews, Predictions

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