Description: A lengthy Final Four drought will end for one program on Saturday night when 1-seed Virginia (32–3) clashes with 3-seed Purdue (26–9) in the 2019 NCAA Tournament South Regional final in Louisville. Tipoff is at 8:49 p.m. ET. The Cavaliers are seeking their first Final Four appearance since 1984, while the Boilermakers haven’t reached the national semifinals since 1980. Virginia used its signature stifling defense to squeeze past Oregon 53–49 in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night. Conversely, Purdue put on one of the most impressive offensive displays of the NCAA Tournament to knock off Tennessee 99–94 in overtime. The Cavaliers are 4.5-point favorites and the over-under for total points scored is 126 in the latest Virginia vs. Purdue odds. Before you lock in your Virginia vs. Purdue picks and 2019 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 predictions, check out what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
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The model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has raked in the winnings for those following its picks. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned more than $4,000 to $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks and entered the postseason on a strong 11–5 run on all top-rated college basketball plays. It’s also on fire in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, calling 14 of the Sweet 16 teams straight-up. Anyone who has followed it is way up.Now the model has dialed in on Virginia vs. Purdue. We can tell you it is leaning over, and it has a strong against-the-spread pick that hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. That pick is only available at SportsLine.The model knows Virginia is hungry to reach its first Final Four under coach Tony Bennett. The accomplishment would serve as the ultimate comeback after last year’s postseason in which Virginia became the first 1-seed ever to fall to a 16-seed.The Cavaliers already have faced their share of challenges to reach the Elite 8. They fell behind by 14 early and looked tentative in their first-round matchup against Gardner-Webb before pulling away behind a dominant second half for a 71–56 victory. On Thursday, Virginia battled against an Oregon club that made a late-season surge to the Pac-12 Tournament title and two NCAA Tournament victories by using a Virginia-like formula of sturdy defense and deliberate offense.The Ducks took a 45–42 lead on a Louis King three-pointer with 5:44 left. It would be their last field goal of the game, and Ty Jerome put Virginia ahead for good at 48–45 with his own three-pointer two minutes later. Jerome led four Virginia players in double-figures with 13 points and six boards. The Cavaliers held Oregon to 37.8 percent shooting and owned a 34–31 rebounding edge.But just because the Cavaliers boast a suffocating defense doesn’t mean they’ll cover the Virginia vs. Purdue spread on Saturday.The Boilermakers appeared headed to a blowout victory Thursday as scoring leader Carsen Edwards buried a slew of jumpers. Purdue built a 40–28 halftime lead and extended the margin to 18 before an experienced and resilient Tennessee club came storming back. The Boilermakers withstood the onslaught mostly on the strength of a memorable barrage of three-pointers from Ryan Cline. Edwards, who finished with 29 points, hit two free throws to force overtime and Purdue dominated in the extra session. The win and cover made the Boilermarkers an astounding 41–19 against the spread in their last 60 non-conference games.
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