Oregon vs. VCU NCAA Tournament Odds & Pick: Bet the Ducks In First Round
Soobum Im/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Duarte (left) and Eugene Omoruyi (right).
Editor’s Note: Saturday night’s Oregon vs. VCU game has been ruled a no-contest due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 protocols. Oregon will advance to the Round of 32.
Oregon vs. VCU Odds
|Moneyline||-240 / +195|
|Time||Saturday, 9:57 p.m. ET|
The Oregon offense seems to be gelling at just the right time heading into the NCAA Tournament.
After multiple injuries early in the season — in addition to a COVID-19 pause in early February — the Ducks are finally at full strength and poised to make a run.
They finished the season atop the Pac-12 conference with a 20-6 record and are one of the under-the-radar teams that may not be getting enough attention.
VCU received a tough draw in the first round having to face potentially the best No. 7 seed in the tournament. VCU finished second in the Atlantic 10 and lost in the A-10 Tournament Championship to St. Bonaventure.
The Rams are reliant on turning defense into offense by creating turnovers, but the Ducks own one of the lowest offensive turnover percentages in the country.
After replacing their entire starting lineup in the offseason, it is impressive enough that the Rams received an at-large bid. They will need Nah’Shon Hyland to have a big game if they are going to get past the Ducks in the opening round.
Mike Randle: Oregon ended the regular season winning 10 of its last 11 games en route to a Pac-12 Championship. The Ducks improved throughout the season, battling constant injuries. Oregon is finally fully healthy after dealing with injuries throughout the season.
Junior point guard Will Richardson returned from thumb surgery on Feb. 4 and has solidified a strong starting lineup.
Richardson averages 11.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.6 APG, allowing Chris Duarte to serve as the primary perimeter scorer. Duarte has fantastic percentages, shooting 52.4% from the field, 43% from 3, and 80.3% from the foul line. Both he and Richardson give Oregon a fantastic backcourt that makes its free throws down the stretch of games.
Forward Eugene Omoruyi (16.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG) has played well above his 6-foot-6 frame, battling opposing bigs with junior Eric Williams (10.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG). Williams missed four games with a knee injury but has provided reliable scoring and fantastic defense in the second half of the season.
The Ducks are careful with the basketball and play tough defense, ranking second in offensive turnovers and first in defensive turnovers in Pac-12 competition. They should be able to handle the VCU press on offense and generate steals against a turnover-prone Rams team on defense.
Oregon has also found its stroke from deep, shooting 39.4% from 3-point range against conference opponents.
The Ducks have also suffered from bad luck, with opponents shooting a brutal 76.3% from the free-throw line (335th in the country).
In NCAA Tournament games, experience matters. Oregon is 38th overall with an average of 2.3 years of experience per player, giving it a huge advantage over a VCU team that ranks just 305th in experience, per KenPom.
Kyle Remillard: The VCU Rams received the only at-large bid from the Atlantic 10 after losing the tournament championship to St. Bonaventure.
The Rams were voted to finish ninth in the preseason poll after losing their entire starting lineup. This young team surprised coach Mike Rhoades, who was preparing himself for some growing pains due to their inexperience.
Instead, VCU caught fire, winning 14-of-16 games and finished the season with a 19-7 record.
A big part of those wins came on the back of Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland — the Atlantic-10 player of the year. He averaged 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and converted on 37.1% of his 186 3-point attempts on the season. Vince Williams was a solid complement to Hyland, averaging 10.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.
Rhoades has been running an eight-man rotation due to full-court pressure defense the Rams play. The “Havoc” defense, coined by previous coach Shaka Smart, has been the bread-and-butter for VCU. The Rams have allowed 65.2 points per game and force turnovers on 23.7% of defensive possessions, ranking ninth nationally.
They played a tough out-of-conference schedule early in the year, beating Utah State and Memphis while losing close games to West Virginia and Penn State. The Rams then limped through the final six games of the season, finishing 3-3 due to ankle injuries with both Hyland and Williams.
They will need these two to be at full strength and at the top of their game if they want to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
They received a tough draw against the top 7-seed in Oregon. The Ducks own the most efficient offense in the PAC-12 and are among the best at taking care of the basketball. VCU can play out of control at times and turn the ball over due to the fast tempo the Rams want to play at.
That’s something they can’t allow if they’re going to want to take down the Ducks, who will look to capitalize on the Rams’ self-inflicted mistakes.
Matchup & Betting Analysis
Kyle Remillard: The Rams will have their work cut out for them if they want to upset the Ducks in the first round.
The Ducks are a well-rounded team with five players who score in double-digits, most notably Chris Duarte who may break out this tournament. Oregon had the best 3-point percentage in the Pac-12 (38%) with weapons spread all over the court.
The biggest difference-maker in this game is going to be the turnover battle.
VCU typically creates a lot of turnovers ranking fourth nationally in steals, but the Ducks don’t turn the ball over. The Rams lead the Atlantic 10 in both fouls and turnovers with their aggressive playing style.
Neither Nah’Shon Hyland nor Vince Williams looked 100% in the Atlantic 10 Championship, which is cause for concern.
I’m laying the points with the Oregon Ducks in what I anticipate to be a double-digit win over this young VCU team.
Pick: Oregon -5.