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NCAA Basketball Elite 8 Preview: Purdue Boilermakers vs. Virginia Cavaliers

The Purdue Boilermakers will look for their second straight upset when they take on the Virginia Cavaliers in the Elite 8. The winner of this game will advance to the Final Four in Minneapolis as the champion in the South Region. Both Purdue and Virginia were regular season conference champions this season, and they have terrific resumes.

Virginia had a close call in the Sweet 16, but held off Oregon and won by a score of 53-49. The Cavaliers were the first number 1 seed to ever lose a first-round game a season ago, and are looking for redemption in a big way. Purdue was able to outlast Tennessee in the Sweet 16 and came away with a 97-92 win in overtime. The Boilermakers cruised in their first two games. Virginia is a -4.5 point favorite in this game.

Virginia Can Make Shots

Everyone will agree that defense is the biggest strength for the Cavaliers, but people always overlook their ability to make shots. Virginia hardly ever takes a bad shot, and are shooting 41 percent from the three-point line as a team. The Cavaliers have a trio of guards in De’Andre Hunter, Kyle Guy, and Ty Jerome who do most of the scoring for Virginia. That trio can all shoot the ball and combine for more than 43 points per game.

The Cavaliers simply don’t give up many points on the defensive end of the floor and are holding opponents to a division-1 best, 54.8 points per game. Virginia doesn’t extend their defense, but they are terrific at keeping opponents out of the paint. Tony Bennett’s squad will try to be the first team to shut down Carsen Edwards this season.

Purdue Wants to Push the Pace

There is no doubt that Purdue will try to push the tempo in this game, and score points before Virginia can set their defense. The Boilermakers are averaging 77 points per game this season, and have scored 87 and 99 in their last two games. Purdue can also shoot the ball as a team, but they don’t have as many shooters. If Purdue is going to find a way to knock off the top seed, they are going to have to solve the pack-line defense.

Carsen Edwards has had a Superman cape on his jersey since the start of this NCAA Tournament, and he has proven to be unstoppable. Edwards has scored at least 25 points in four straight NCAA Tournament games and always comes up clutch for Purdue. Ryan Cline was impressive in the Sweet 16 game as well, pouring in 27 points and making seven three-pointers. If Purdue is going to win this game, it will be Edwards leading them.

Cavaliers Move on To Minneapolis

Virginia has been on a mission all season long to try and make people forget what happened a season ago. The Cavaliers got off to a slow start, but have looked sharp ever since. Purdue has been putting up points like crazy in the tournament, but this will be a tough test. Look for the Virginia defense to slow down Edwards and Purdue and move on to the Final Four. Bet the Virginia Cavaliers -4.5 over the Purdue Boilermakers.

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