Wednesday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: VCU vs. Davidson (Jan. 26)
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Adrian Baldwin Jr.
- Davidson is favored in the rematch of last week's memorable game against VCU.
- The Rams offense has improved with its starting point guard back, and now VCU looks to avenge its previous loss to the Wildcats.
- College basketball betting analyst Anthony Dabbundo breaks down Davidson vs. VCU and delivers his betting pick below.
VCU vs. Davidson Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
VCU and Davidson played a final minute thriller on Jan. 18 that came down to the final possession, as the Wildcats erased a late six-point VCU lead and won in Richmond 63-61.
Eight days later, two of the top four teams in the Atlantic 10 will meet at Davidson, where the Wildcats stellar offense and jump-shooting ability strongly contrasts to VCU’s elite defensive unit under head coach Mike Rhoades.
Davidson has the second longest winning streak in the country behind Auburn with 13 straight since beginning the year 2-2. The Wildcats have jumped out to a healthy 6-0 conference record that includes road wins over VCU and Richmond in the last two weeks.
VCU has improved offensively since Adrian “Ace” Baldwin Jr. returned to the team in early December and its aggressive, ball-pressure defense could cause some issues for the Davidson backcourt. Given that the Wildcats made 50% from deep and still barely won the first meeting, this matchup projects as yet another near toss-up.
VCU’s offensive splits with and without Baldwin aren’t pretty either way, but the improvement has been noticeable in the numbers since the point guard returned to the lineup.
The Rams offense was 337th out of 358 Division I teams in adjusted offensive efficiency in the eight games that Baldwin did not play. VCU lost at home to Wagner and Chattanooga and while it was competitive against Baylor and UConn, the lack of offense stemmed from a 24.6% turnover rate, 344th in the nation.
Since Baldwin’s return from injury, the VCU offense has improved from terrible to merely just bad. The offense is up to 241st in adjusted efficiency and the turnover rate improves to 20.1%, 271st in the nation. Putting the ball in Baldwin’s hands more helps the Rams be functional.
Against a Davidson defense that lacks athleticism and doesn’t force a lot of turnovers, Baldwin should be able to create off the dribble.
In the last meeting, VCU had just seven turnovers total, while the Rams turned over Davidson 17 times. Baldwin himself had seven assists and zero turnovers, so there’s a slight indicator that the Wildcats could be an ideal matchup to help solve VCU’s turnover woes.
Davidson is a dangerous mid-major because it would only take one good shooting night in March for the Wildcats to knock off a favorite in the big dance. The Wildcats rank 14th in adjusted offensive efficiency, second in 3-point shooting and 31st in offensive ShotQuality rating.
The Wildcats are third in ball screen frequency, third in generating open catch and shoot 3s and sixth in ShotQuality in 3s off the dribble. There’s nothing flukey about the Wildcats elite perimeter shooting numbers and one hot night from beyond the arc could again doom the Rams in this matchup.
Davidson struggled with the VCU ball pressure in the first meeting and didn’t really have the ability to take advantage of the very aggressive Rams by exploiting them on the glass. VCU is so aggressive in chasing turnovers and shooters off the 3-point line that they are very vulnerable to offensive rebounds.
The Wildcats prioritize getting back on defense and keeping teams out of transition, though, so this isn’t really an area where I’d expect Davidson to take advantage of VCU’s weakness.
Davidson has had quite a bit of good fortune in its winning run, too. The Wildcats rank 27th in close game efficiency with a 5-1 record in tight games, which tends to be relatively random in the long run and subject to high variance. The Wildcats have played two games worse than their actual record based on ShotQuality record. They also rank 12th in Bart Torvik’s “Fortunate Unexplained by Numbers” rating, another name for luck.
VCU vs. Davidson Betting Pick
There’s a lot of familiarity with these two teams given that they played twice in the last two weeks of last season and then just played again last week. That tends to favor the team who lost the last meeting, as Rhoades and VCU will get the chance to make some adjustments and respond.
Since Baldwin has returned from injury, the improvements of this VCU offense and the continued excellence of its defense actually has Bart Torvik’s site rating the Rams as the better team than Davidson by about half of a point per 100 possessions since Dec. 6.
This game comes down to VCU’s ability to turn over Foster Loyer and Michael Jones in the Davidson backcourt, which they did 10 times in the last meeting. Short of Davidson shooting that well from deep once again, I’d expect VCU to take this game down to the wire once again.
It’s an all-in spot for VCU, and their third ranked defense nationally makes them fit the profile of a team I like to get behind as an underdog. If they’re catching multiple possessions, VCU is the look here.
Pick: VCU +4 or better