VCU vs. UCF Betting Guide: Which Team Will Control Paint in NCAA Tournament?

VCU vs. UCF Betting Guide: Which Team Will Control Paint in NCAA Tournament? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard Marcus Evans (2), UCF Knights center Tacko Fall (24).

#8 VCU vs. #9 UCF: NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: UCF +1
  • Over/Under: 126.5
  • Date: Friday, March 22
  • Time: 9:40 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Columbia, S.C.

>> All odds as of Thursday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Knights (18-12-1 against the spread) have dropped their past two games ATS after covering in each of their previous eight contests. On the flip side, the Rams (20-11-1 ATS) failed to cover in three of their past five affairs.

Which team presents the most value in this Round of 64 matchup? Let’s breakdown the biggest factors.

How Healthy is Marcus Evans?

The 6-foot-2 guard exited the Rams’ Atlantic 10 tournament quarterfinals (knee injury) and failed to return. Evans isn’t able to simulate game action in practice, but he’s set to give it a go for their contest against the Knights.

Evans has notched the 23rd-highest steal rate (4.1%) in the country, but it’s unknown how much lateral movement he’ll have at that end of the court.

Will Tacko Fall 7 Co. Dominate Inside?

The Knights’ 59th-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (110.6 points per 100 possessions) stems from their prowess for attacking the rim.

Not only has Johnny Dawkins’ bunch produced the 79th-highest 2-point clip (52.5%) in college basketball — led by the 7-foot-6, 310-pound Tacko Fall (10.9 points per game) — but it has also generated the second-highest free-throw rate (46.4%) in the country.

UCF point guard B.J. Taylor (16.0 ppg) initiates it all, along with tallying the 31st-highest individual rate in that department.

VCU has struggled to stay out of foul trouble, especially in A-10 play, allowing the second-highest free-throw rate (37.6%). Overall, Mike Rhoades’ squad has let up the 20th-highest scoring from that vicinity (20.9%).

The Rams still possess an advantage in the turnover department, though, even if Evans isn’t as effective as usual. They’ve manufactured the ninth-highest opponents’ turnover rate (23.4%) while the Knight accrued the fifth-highest rate in AAC play. Expect Rhoades’ ball pressure to give UCF issues, particularly when it looks to feed Fall in the low-post.

Can VCU Succeed in Half-Court Sets?

The Rams’ transition offense is electric when they turn their opponents over, utilizing the 40th-highest average possession length (16.1 seconds).

But their interior offense has been effective, too, totaling the 52nd-highest 2-point clip (53.7%) in the nation. The 6-foot-7 Marcus Santos-Silva (10.1 ppg) showcased his low-post prowess following Evans’ departure on Friday, going off for a 26-point, 22-rebound performance.

UCF’s 2-point defense regressed in conference play, yielding the fourth-highest scoring rate (49.4%) to league foes. That’s a product of its inability to control the glass, and VCU owns the 88th-highest offensive rebounding rate (31.1%) in the country.

Expect the 6-foot-6 Isaac Vaas and the aforementioned Santos-Silva to have a major impact inside the arc, and anything Evans delivers off the dribble is a plus.

Eli’s Pick: VCU +1, but don’t bet it past VCU PK.

Our Projected Odds: VCU vs. UCF

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: UCF -1
  • Total: 125.5
  • Proj Score: VCU 62.5 | UCF 63.5
  • Win Probability: VCU 49.8% | UCF 50.2%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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