Cyclones' furious pace to meet Virginia
Old-school sensibilities meet college basketball’s current tempo of choice in tonight’s first Sweet 16 showdown at the United Center.
Online sports book Bovada.lv currently likes the Cavaliers and their throwback stylings as 6.5-point favorites over the fast-paced Cyclones. The over/under total sits at 141.
In his seven seasons at Virginia, head coach Tony Bennett has instilled a ferocious system that makes even the most high-octane attacks quake. The Hoos (28-7) rank second in Division I in opponents’ scoring average, with ACC Defensive Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon leading the charge. Forwards Anthony Gill, Isaiah Wilkins and Evan Nolte similarly strive to uphold Bennett’s ferocious principles.
Brogdon, though, carries just as much of a load on the other end. The shooting guard alternately gets to the rack with ease and burns adversaries with a wicked mid-range jumper. He then rounds out the arsenal by bombing a 3-pointer or four, which did in Ohio State, Clemson and NC State during the regular season.
Iowa State (23-11) counters with its own senior standout. Georges Niang spearheads an offense that averages 82.1 points and ranks third nationally in field-goal percentage (50.3). The power forward poured in 28 all by himself in each of the Cyclones’ first two NCAA challenges.
Still, Arkansas-Little Rock and Iona weren’t exactly chock-full of big-game experience. UVa possesses that very attribute in spades. The senior class of Brogdon, Gill, Nolte, Mike Tobey and Caid Kirven boasts 111 wins – second in school history. They’ll also reach the regional finals for the first time since 1995.
FRIDAY NCAA FREE PICK: IOWA STATE +6.5