Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#829 Dayton vs.
#830 VCU
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 8:30pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

This article covers a past game!

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The No.5-ranked Dayton Flyers will travel to Wade Arena in Richmond, Virginia on Tuesday evening for an Atlantic 10 Conference showdown against the VCU Rams.

The timing for this week’s rematch couldn’t be worse for VCU. The Rams are reeling right now. VCU has fallen sixth place in the A10 standings after dropping three of its last four games. The Rams enter with a 7-5 record in conference play and the team was forced to play its last game without starting point guard Marcus Evans, who sat with a knee injury. Evans surpassed the 2,000 point milestone earlier this season and the offense struggled without him in the lineup. Meanwhile, Dayton has cruised through the A10 schedule to enter with an undefeated 12-0 conference record. Can the Rams pull off an unlikely upset over Dayton on Tuesday night?

Toppin, Flyers remain undefeated in A10 play

Dayton cruised to a 71-63 victory on the road against Massachusetts 71-63 on Saturday night to remain perfect in A10 play. Obi Toppin led the way with 19 points while Jalen Crutcher finished with 15 points and five assists for the Flyers, who shot 53 percent from the field and led by as many as 16 points on the night.

Following their latest win, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Flyers pegged as a No. 2-seed in his latest NCAA Tournament Projections. Dayton enters the week ranked No. 6 in the latest KenPom rankings and No. 5 in the AP Top-25 Polls.

With an experienced backcourt and a legitimate superstar in Toppin, Anthony Grant’s offense has been functioning like a well-oiled machine this season. Dayton has scored 118.2 points per 100 possessions for the season (2nd in the NCAA) and a league-high 113.7 points per 100 possessions during A10 play. Through 12 conference games, the Flyers lead the A10 with an effective field goal percentage of 57.9 percent. They have shot a red-hot 61.3 percent from inside the arc (1st in the A10), 34.8 percent from 3-point range (2nd in the A10), and 76.3 percent from the free-throw line (2nd in the A10) during league play. That’s helped them overcome some carelessness with the basketball. Versus A10 teams, Dayton has turned the ball over 18.3 percent of the time (7th in the A10) while sporting an offensive rebounding rate of only 25.9 percent (11th in the A10).

On defense, the Flyers have surrendered 94.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (54th in the NCAA) and 94.1 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (3rd in the A10). They sport the second-best effective field goal percentage defense in the conference at 43.7 percent (2nd in the A10) and have limited Big East opponents to just 43.7 percent shooting from 2-point range (2nd in the Big East).

VCU desperate for resume-building win

VCU was unable to get anything going without starting point guard Marcus Evans against Richmond on Saturday, falling to the Spiders 77-59. Marcus Santos-Silva led the team in scoring with 14 points but the Rams never led and trailed by as many as 23 points in the loss. VCU shot just 4-for-21 from long-range and turned the ball over 16 times in the loss.

Mike Rhodes is hoping to get the Rams back on the right track after losing back-to-back conference games for just the second time this season. VCU enters the week slotted at No. 53 in the latest KenPom rankings but the Rams will have to finish the season strong if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament. VCU is currently among Lunardi’s first four teams out of the tournament but a win against Dayton could change that and leave a lasting impression on the selection committee.

The Rams have scored 104.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (122nd in the NCAA) and 101.5 points per 100 possessions during conference play (7th in the A10). VCU relies on winning the turnover battle and turning defense into offense to stay in games. The Rams have turned the ball over just 17.4 percent of the time during conference play (5th in the A10) but they don’t do much else well on the offensive end. VCU ranks eighth in the A10 in 2-point shooting (48.3 percent) and 3-point shooting (32.9 percent) and 11th in free-throw rate (29.5 percent), which has limited its efficiency on offense.

On defense, the Rams generate turnovers at a high rate and do a good job of defending the paint. They have given up only 92.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (26th in the NCAA) and 95.0 points per 100 possessions during conference play (4th in the A10). VCU has forced A10 opponents to turn the ball over a league-high 23.2 percent of the time (1st in the A10) and held them to just 45.8 percent shooting from 2-point range (3rd in the A10).

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Toppin gives the Flyers a major advantage on the inside in this game but keep an eye on the status of Rams’ point guard Marcus Evans too. If he’s out, the Flyers will also have the edge in the backcourt as well. Crutcher and Rodney Chatman are both good ball-handlers, so they should be able to take care of the basketball against the Rams’ pressure defense. Meanwhile, the Rams struggled in that department in their last game against Richmond without Evans on the floor. They turned the ball over 22.2 percent of the time in that game and shot just 34.2 percent fro the field. With Evans either hurt or not 100 percent, I’ll take my chances with the Flyers covering the number on the road in this A10 battle on Tuesday night. 

Prediction: Dayton Flyers -3

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Dayton is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country and VCU plays at one of the fastest paces in the A10, so this seems like a good spot for a high-scoring game. The Rams rank third in the conference in adjusted tempo and first in average possession length on offense, where they get their shots up in an average of just 16.2 seconds. Dayton does struggle with turnovers but the Flyers have been nearly unstoppable otherwise, ranking first or second in the A10 in 2-point, 3-point, and free-throw shooting. Both of these teams have also struggled on the defensive glass, so look for this game to go over the projected total on Tuesday evening.

Prediction: Over 143.5
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.