The tournament field is set, and Virginia is well-represented in the 2021 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.
You know – March Madness? The Big Dance? That 18-day stretch in which 68 hopefuls will duke it out to determine the No. 1 hoops team in all of college basketball?
It’s an American tradition that has gotten bigger and more extravagant each year. And this year’s tournament is a heavily anticipated one. The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 tourney. As a result, the University of Virginia Cavaliers didn’t get a chance to defend their 2019 national title.
Just a few weeks ago, nearly a dozen Virginia universities had at least an outside shot at making it to the tourney. Ultimately, though, five, including the Cavaliers, will need their dancing shoes.
However, if you’re a Virginia sports bettor who hopes to wager on any of those schools, well, you’re in for some disappointment.
Which Virginia schools are in March Madness?
First things first: Who’s in? Which VA schools made the Big Dance?
These are the five Virginia colleges and universities that earned a berth, as well as their overall tourney seeds:
- 16. University of Virginia (18-6)
- 38. Virginia Tech University (15-6)
- 39. Virginia Commonwealth University (19-7)
- 53. Liberty University (23-5)
- 67. Norfolk State University (16-7)
And here’s the schedule, the regional seeds, opponents, and opening March Madness odds for their matchups:
- Thursday, 8:40 p.m.: No. 16 Appalachian State (-3) vs. No. 16 Norfolk State
- Friday, 12:15 p.m.: 10. Virginia Tech vs. No. 7 University of Florida (-1)
- Friday, 6:25 p.m.: No. 13 Liberty vs. No. 4 Oklahoma State (-9.5)
- Saturday, 7:15 p.m.: No. 13 Ohio University vs. No. 4 Virginia (-8)
- Saturday, 9:57 p.m.: No. 10 VCU vs. No. 7 University of Oregon (-6)
And here are the odds for each team to win a national championship via the tournament, courtesy of DraftKings:
- Virginia Cavaliers: +5,000 (bet $10 to win $500)
- Virginia Tech Hokies: +6,000 ($10/$600)
- VCU Rams: +12,000 ($10/$1,200)
- Liberty Flames: +20,000 ($10/$2,000)
- Norfolk State Spartans: +20,000 ($10/$2,000)
Of course, here in Virginia, those odds are, as they say, for entertainment/educational purposes only. It’s unfortunate fact of Virginia sports betting.
No betting on Virginia schools
When the Virginia General Assembly legalized sports betting in 2020, it came with a notable caveat: No wagering on in-state colleges and universities in Virginia.
So, despite the availability of six Virginia sports betting operators here in the commonwealth, their customers can’t use them to bet on VA teams. When college hoops reign supreme, the area’s most popular teams are off-limits.
Yes, it’s a real bummer, especially considering the Cavaliers. They won the title in 2019. They then earned a berth in 2020 and looked to repeat. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced officials to cancel the entire tournament.
This season, Virginia won the ACC regular-season title but was forced out of the postseason conference tournament after a positive COVID-19 test. Still, with the Cavs’ 18-6 record and No. 15 national ranking, the selection committee handed them an at-large bid with a No. 4 seed in the West region:
— Virginia Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) March 15, 2021
Wouldn’t it be quite the story for UVA to repeat as champions? Especially after such a long wait to defend the title? Especially after all the team has endured? And especially with a potential 50-1 payoff awaiting their backers if they did?
It could be a fairytale ending, but it’s like we can’t read that final chapter.
Which VA colleges aren’t dancing?
So, who’s out? Which Virginia universities will have to watch March Madness from home like the rest of us?
Here are the D-1 men’s basketball teams in Virginia that didn’t make the field.
- George Mason University (13-9)
- Hampton University (11-14)
- James Madison University (13-7)
- Longwood University (12-16)
- Old Dominion University (14-8)
- Radford University (15-12)
- University of Richmond (13-8)
- William & Mary (7-10)
- Virginia Military Institute (13-12)
However, it’s worth noting that none of the teams were on any credible “snub lists.” That means there were no egregious omissions, despite some solid records and memorable wins.
If you still want to back some area teams and bet on March Madness, neighboring states offer some options. Those teams include West Virginia University, University of Tennessee, Georgetown University, and UNC Greensboro. All of those schools are dancing.
You could also go to neighboring states such as Tennessee or West Virginia to wager. They both have legal sports betting, so you could place a wager on VA schools there. (You may want to think twice about going to Washington, DC, though.)
Additionally, later this week, we’ll let you know about some free-to-play games and other March Madness promotions that are available in Virginia.