Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#6905 Baylor vs.
#6906 VCU
Thursday, November 25, 2021 at 5:00pm EST
Written by Chris King

It’s a semifinal matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis on the college hardwood when the Big 12 takes the floor against the Atlantic 10 in an island paradise. The #6 Baylor Bears are the “road” team as they make the trip to face the VCU Rams Thursday afternoon. Baylor took care of business against Arizona State, beating the Sun Devils 75-63 in the opening round of the tournament Wednesday night. VCU upended Syracuse 67-55 in their first-round contest Wednesday afternoon in their most recent game. These teams have split four previous meetings with the Bears taking a 71-63 triumph at home in the most recent matchup on November 23, 2016.

Baylor Bears Seek to Remain Unbeaten

Baylor has picked up where they left off last season as they remain unbeaten even with a new cast of characters. The Bears drubbed Arizona State in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score to run their mark to 5-0 on the year. Against Arizona State, Baylor trailed by six in the first half and stood tied just past the midway point of the first half before going on a 22-8 run to take a 14-point edge at intermission. The Bears led by as many as 22 in the second half and didn’t let the Sun Devils closer than 11 en route to the win. Baylor shot 42.3% from the field, including eight of 24 from three-point range, and held a 43-36 edge on the glass. LJ Cryer led the Bears with 15 points off the bench in the victory.

The Bears enter this contest 14th in the country in scoring offense as they pile up 88.5 points per game. Baylor is 37th in rebounding as they pull down 37.8 boards per contest and are 1st by dishing out 24 assists per game. The Bears are excellent defensively, ranking 12th in the country in scoring defense by allowing 53.8 points a night. LJ Cryer leads five Baylor players in double figures with 17.8 points per game on the year. Kendall Brown (14 points), Matthew Mayer (11.2 points, 4.2 boards), James Akinjo (10 points, 7.8 assists) and Jeremy Sochan (8.2 points) are good scoring options as well. Adam Flagler, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Flo Thamba and Dale Bonner are all guys that are looked at to contribute when they are on the floor. Baylor is hitting 50.5% of their attempts from the floor this season. The Bears knock down an average of 8.6 three-pointers a night while hitting 35.4% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Baylor is struggling at the free throw line, where they are converting 61.4% of their chances.

VCU Rams Looking to Build Off Best Offensive Showing of Season

VCU bounced back from a loss to Chattanooga as they rallied in the second half to down Syracuse in the opening round of the tournament and climb over the .500 mark. The Rams set a season-high in points in the victory but they still only put up 67 in the contest. Against Syracuse, VCU trailed by five on multiple occasions in the first half, by six in the closing seconds of the half and by four at intermission. Trailing by two in the second half, the Rams used an 8-0 run to take a 44-38 advantage and never let Syracuse closer than four after that. VCU shot 42.1% from the field, including seven of 18 from three-point range, and hit 12 of 17 free throw attempts. Levi Stockard III led the Rams with 15 points and four assists in the loss.

For the year, VCU is putting up an average of only 54 points per game so far this season, putting them 357th in the nation in scoring offense. The Rams are collecting an average of 29 rebounds per contest while dishing out 10.3 assists a night this year. VCU has given up an average of 51.3 points a game this season, putting them 4th in the nation in scoring defense. Vince Williams Jr. is the lone player averaging in double figures for the Rams as he averages 10.6 points per game this season. Hason Ward, KeShawn Curry, Levi Stockard III, Jayden Nunn, Marcus Tsohoris, Jalen DeLoach, Josh Banks, Jimmy Nichols Jr., Nick Kern and Mikeal Brown-Jones are all key contributors being looked to for solid minutes for Mike Rhoades. As a team, VCU is shooting 40.4% from the floor on the year. The Rams are connecting on an average of 3.8 three-pointers per game while shooting a frigid 26.3% from beyond the arc. VCU is sinking a mediocre 61.5% of their attempts from the charity stripe on the season.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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While VCU picked up the win in their first-round matchup by knocking off Syracuse, they’re facing a much tougher team in this contest. Baylor is the defending national champion and they have beaten all five of their opponents by double figures this season. The Bears are getting balanced scoring and they have plenty of capable playmakers to work with in addition to a fairly deep rotation. VCU putting up 67 points against Syracuse isn’t cause for a parade, especially seeing how Colgate hung 100 on the Orange at the Carrier Dome. Baylor is good on both ends of the floor and that proves to be the difference as the Bears punch their ticket to the championship game.

Prediction: Baylor Bears

Full-Game Total Pick

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Rating:

Baylor comes into this one having seen the under hit in three of their five games on the season in relation to the total. The Bears are sixth in offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency on the season according to KenPom. Baylor is 52nd in effective field goal percentage (55%) and 17th in offensive rebounding percentage (38.7%) this season. The Bears are an above average team in tempo as they are 112th in that category with 70.2 possessions a night on the year. All five of VCU’s games have been defense slugfests coming into this contest. The Rams combined for just 111 points in their win over Saint Peter’s and 102 points in the game against Wagner. Those totals fell well short of the 129-point number (against Saint Peter’s) and 133.5-point mark (against Wagner) in the first two games. VCU followed that up with a putrid 85 COMBINED points in the win over Vanderbilt and 110 combined points in the loss to Chattanooga. The 122 combined points in the Syracuse game was their high-water mark of the year. This one stays under the number as a result.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.