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VCU earned a bye into the quarterfinal round of the A10 Tournament by winning their final 12 games of the conference season to finish with a 16-2 record. However, one of the Rams’ two conference losses come on the road versus Rhode Island on Jan. 23. Can Rhode Island upset top-seeded VCU in the A10 Tournament on Friday afternoon?
Rams close regular season on 12-game win streak
VCU closed the regular season with a 25-6 overall record after putting together a 12-game win streak. The Rams beat St. Joseph’s 75-63 in their regular-season finale. Marcus Evans scored 23 points, while Issac Vann added 15 for the Rams in a closely-contested matchup.
Mike Rhoades’ squad enters this matchup ranked No. 33 in the latest KenPom rankings after dominating during the A10 regular season. VCU has scored 104.2 points per 100 possessions for the year (173rd in the NCAA) and 107.0 points per 100 possessions in league play (3rd in the A10). They rank in the top-3 in the conference several offensive categories, but they’ve struggled to shoot threes and take care of the basketball, which has limited their efficiency on offense. VCU has turned the ball over on 20.0 percent of their offensive possessions (13th in the A10), while shooting just 32.0 percent from beyond the arc versus A10 opponents (9th in the A10).
On defense, VCU has surrendered just 87.2 points per 100 possessions in league play (1st in the A10), while forcing turnovers on a whopping 23.4 percent of their defensive possessions (1st in the A10). They have also allowed opponents to shoot just 43.6 percent from inside the arc (1st in the A10) and 28.1 percent from deep (1st in the A10) during league play so far this year.
Rhode Island keeps season alive with win over La Salle
Rhode Island kept their season alive on Thursday, defeating La Salle 76-57 in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Cyril Langevine scored 25 points and hauled in 12 rebounds on the night, while Fatts Russell chipped in 19 for the Rams, who never trailed and led by as many as 30 points in a route of the Explorers.
WATCH: #URI faces #1 seeded VCU in todays quarterfinal game of the @A10MBB Tournament. This game the third meeting between VCU and URI this season each winning one game. The winner of this game will advance to the semifinals tomorrow afternoon.@GoRhodyRams @RhodyMBB pic.twitter.com/Rsx92hDVus
— Niki Lattarulo (@NicoleLattarulo) March 15, 2019
David Cox’s squad comes into the quarterfinal round slotted at No. 141 in the latest KenPom rankings after pushing their current win streak to five games. The Rams have scored 103.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (192nd in the NCAA), and they’ve been even worse in conference play, averaging just 100.9 points per 100 possessions versus A10 opponents (8th in the A10). Rhode Island has struggled to connect on their attempts from beyond the arc and the free throw line during conference play, which has held them back on offense. The Rams have shot just 29.1 percent from 3-point range during conference play (14th in the A10) and only 66.1 percent from the charity stripe as a team (12th in the A10). Instead, they do most of their damage from inside the arc and at the free throw line. Rhode Island has gotten 57.6 percent of their total points in league play from inside the arc (1st in the A10) and 20.3 percent from the charity stripe (2nd in the A10) so far this year.
On defense, the Rams have scored 100.4 points per 100 possessions for the year (104th in the NCAA) and 102.9 points per 100 possessions during conference play (8th in the A10).
- Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Rams are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. Atlantic 10.
- Rams are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 Friday games.
- Under is 4-0 in Rams last 4 Friday games.
- Under is 4-1 in Rams last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The favorite has covered the spread in each of the last nine meetings in this series. Rhode Island already stunned VCU earlier this season and this game will be a grudge match to decide the season series. VCU blew out Rhode Island by a whopping 34 points on Feb. 19, so Rhode Island will be looking to get some revenge in this spot and they come into this matchup having won each of their last five conference games. VCU is favored by eight points on a neutral floor in this spot, so I’ll take my chances with Rhode Island covering the number in this A10 battle on Friday afternoon.
Prediction: Pick: Rhode Island Rams +8
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have stayed under the projected total in each of their last four matchups. VCU has gone under in four straight Friday games and four of their last five contests versus a team with a winning record. Meanwhile, Rhode Island has gone under in each of their last four games versus a team with a winning overall record, so look for this A10 Tournament matchup to stay under the projected total at the Barclays Center on Friday.
Prediction: Under 131