College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Rhode Island vs. VCU (Tuesday, February 8)
Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David Cox (Rhode Island)
- VCU hosts a Rhode Island team that is currently on a five-game losing streak.
- The Rams have won three of their last four trips to VCU, though.
- Keg breaks down this Atlantic 10 matchup and offers up his best bet.
Rhode Island vs. VCU Odds
|Rhode Island Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
We’re in for a defensive showdown Tuesday night, as Rhode Island travels to take on VCU in their first and only meeting of the season.
Rhode Island comes into this game hungry for a win. After a weak non-conference schedule positioned the Rams at 9-3, it has been a rude awakening for them.
Rhode Island finds itself 12-9 on the season and 3-6 in conference play. It’s also currently on a five-game losing streak, with three of those losses coming at home.
VCU, meanwhile, has had an opposite path this season. The Rams played a competitive non-conference schedule, posting wins over Vanderbilt and Syracuse.
They’re now 7-3 in conference play and rank fourth in the the A-10. VCU’s only conference losses have come against St. Bonaventure, Davidson and Dayton, three of the strongest teams in the league.
Both of these squads rank inside the top three in the Atlantic 10 in defensive efficiency, as well as scoring defense.
I expect this to be a slow, close defensive battle, but can Rhode Island do enough to end its losing streak?
Rhode Island leads the all-time series vs. VCU, 11-8, and it has won in three of its last four trips to Richmond.
The Rams did suffer their fifth loss in a row on Saturday against UMass, but there were some positives to take away from the game.
Ishmael Leggett scored a career-high 21 points against the Minutemen, while going 3-of-5 from deep. As a team, the Rams hit 52.6% of their 2-point shots.
On the season, Rhode Island is averaging 68 points per game. The Rams may not score a lot, but they’re posting an effective FG% of 52.1% to go along with hitting 47% of their shots from the floor.
The Rams also rank fourth in the A-10 in scoring margin (+5). Just two players are scoring in double digits for the team, but again, it’s not an offensively driven unit.
I expect them to be even less of one in this game.
Rhode Island’s true game is played on defense, where it’s holding teams to just 63.5 points per game. The Rams’ defense ranks 42nd nationally in adjusted efficiency and is 10th in 2-point shooting.
They’re the second-best team in block percentage, but I don’t think that will hold true against a VCU team that is considerably taller than them.
Both of these teams are defensive minded, but one thing sets them apart significantly. Neither team takes a lot of shots, as both rank outside the top 300 in field goal attempts. However, Rhode Island is allowing teams to take considerably more than VCU.
URI ranks 88th in opponent field goal attempts and 272nd in 3-point attempts. Meanwhile, VCU ranks 35th in both field goal and 3-point attempts.
VCU may not post the same shooting percentage success Rhode Island has had, but allowing its opponent to make up for it with more attempts is a one way ticket to a loss.
On the offensive end, VCU is scoring just 63.3 points per game, which ranks 319th in college basketball. It owns the 310th-least efficient offense in the sport.
The Rams play slow, and just like Rhode Island, they rank outside the top 325 in shot attempts per game. Unlike their fellow Rams, however, they rarely make shots, posting a percentage of just 44.3%.
But when it comes to defense, VCU is one of the best in the country. It’s 10th-best in defensive scoring — allowing just 60.1 points per game — and it owns the fourth-most efficient defense in college basketball.
VCU is second in turnover percentage and third in 3-point defense. The Rams from Virginia rank inside the top 25 in every defensive metric, per KenPom, except opponent offensive rebounding percentage, which Rhode Island is 202nd in.
Rhode Island vs. VCU Betting Pick
I was really looking to take the under in this matchup, but at an opener of 120.5, its just too low in my opinion.
I had hoped to see a total of 125-127.
With that said, I’ll take the points with Rhode Island in what I expect to be a slow, low-scoring game. Both of these teams are outside the top 300 in free throw shooting, which may very well decide the spread in this one.
I’ve got no problem taking Rhode Island here at +4.5 or better.
Pick: Rhode Island +4.5 or better
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