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Did Virginia Expose a Weakness in Auburn's Game?

<p>Jared Harper</p>
<p>Auburn men's basketball vs Virginia during semifinals of the Final Four on Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minn.</p>

Jared Harper

Auburn men's basketball vs Virginia during semifinals of the Final Four on Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minn.

I'll be brief, the answer is no. 

One can look through the stats and try to find a way that the Cavaliers exposed the Tigers in Auburn's Final Four loss to Virginia on Saturday, but realistically, there isn't one. The stats were virtually even across the board (as one would expect in a 1-point game). 

Auburn was not exposed by the ACC regular season champs, but they were beaten. After nitpicking, I can determine two ways in which the Tigers fell a little short to the Cavaliers. 

This Auburn basketball team is known for its 3-point game. The Tigers lead the nation this year with 454, 3-pointers made and shot the 3-ball at 37.7 percent on the year. Virginia's stout defense held the Tigers to 9-31 from the 3-point line or 29 percent. 

That number might not seem that drastic, but shooting the 3-pointer 8.7 percent less than normal is a seismic difference in a game that the Tigers lost by one point, especially since Virginia shot 36.8 percent from deep. 

Another factor that contributed to Auburn's loss was free throws down the stretch. Auburn point guard Jared Harper uncharacteristically missed one of his two free throws with seven seconds left in the game. A made free throw would have resulted in a 3-point lead for the Tigers, and Virginia guard Kyle Guy's late free throws would have sent the game to overtime, instead of winning the game. 

Again, it's important to take all of this with a grain of salt. Auburn played an incredibly well game against an exceptional Virginia team. Auburn did what it needed to do to advance to the team's first championship appearance in school history. Unfortunately for the Tigers, it wasn't in the stars. 

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