No. 5 Virginia vs No. 12 UNC Wilmington preview: Game time, broadcast, betting line, prediction

The 5th-seeded Virginia Cavaliers (22-10) take on the No. 12 seed UNC Wilmington Seahawks (29-5) in the first round of the East Region. The game will be played at the Amway Center in Orlando on Thursday. Tip is at 12:40 p.m. E.T.

Preview: Virginia finished sixth in the ACC and reached the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Head coach Tony Bennett's 'Pack Line Defense' is a pain to play against, making Virginia one of the nation's top defensive teams. Offensively, as senior point guard London Perrantes (12.5 ppg) goes, so goes the Cavaliers.

UNC Wilmington is making a second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Seahawks swept through the CAA, winning the regular season and conference tournament titles. Sophomore guard C.J. Bryce (17.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 apg) paces Wilmington, but don't forget about senior guard Chris Flemmings (15.8ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.1 apg).

You can check out the entire NCAA Tournament bracket here. You can also see how the committee ranked the teams 1-68 here.

Date: Thursday, March 16

Time: 12:40 p.m. E.T.

TV Channel: truTV

Location: Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.

Announcers: Ian Eagle, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn

Opening Betting Line: Virginia -8, via OddsShark

This is Virginia's 21st NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cavaliers made it to the Elite Eight as a No. 1 seed last year before losing to Syracuse.

Wilmington has now made it to the Big Dance six times, all in the last 20 years. They were a No. 13 seed and led fourth-seeded Duke at halftime last year before falling 93-85.

Prediction: Virginia looked like it was going to earn a top seed in tournament in late January when they were sitting at 16-3. They finished 6-7 down the stretch though, falling to a No. 5 seed.

Wilmington, meanwhile, has won seven in a row and 18 of its last 21. The Seahawks look to be peaking at the right time.

There is a 12-5 upset or two every year. This looks like a good option. UNC Wilmington gets it done and springs the upset.

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