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UMass vs. Rhode Island College Basketball Odds & Pick: Back a Low-Scoring Game Due to Key Absences

UMass vs. Rhode Island College Basketball Odds & Pick: Back a Low-Scoring Game Due to Key Absences article feature image

Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: URI’s Ishmael Leggett.

  • Rhode Island takes on Massachusetts for the second time this season, looking to avenge an overtime loss from earlier in the year.
  • Injury concerns for both teams lead to plenty of value on the total in this A-10 matchup.
  • Kyle Remillard breaks it down and shares his betting pick below.

UMass vs. Rhode Island Odds

Team Odds +6.5
Team Odds -6.5
Moneyline +265 / -330
Over/Under 145.5
Time | TV Saturday, 8 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Odds as of Friday night and via FanDuel.

The Rhode Island Rams look to avenge this season’s 80-78 overtime loss against the Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday night.

The Rams trailed, 62-47, with 10 minutes remaining in the first contest, before fighting back to send the game to overtime. Antwan Walker missed what would have been a game-tying layup as time expired in OT. 

URI is coming off a one-point loss to VCU. The Rams played that game without star Daron “Fatts” Russell, who missed the game with an ankle injury. That loss puts them at 9-10 on the year and 6-6 in Atlantic 10 play. 

UMass enters this contest after a 60-54 win against the 1-9 Fordham Rams. UMass played that game without four players and two starters, including Tre Mitchell, who is the leading scorer in the conference. That win puts the Minutemen at just 6-4 on the year and 5-2 in conference play. 

Both teams have key players that are questionable as of the time of writing, which could lead to potential value in the betting market.

Injury Concerns

Shootaround at the Ryan Center in Kingston, Rhode Island, will determine a lot before the Rams face off against the Minutemen. 

Russell had missed one career game entering this season, and he has now missed his third game of 2021.

Russell is the leader of the Rams, averaging 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He attacks defenses inside the paint, getting to the free-throw line more than any other Atlantic 10 player.

He is still questionable in this game, nursing a sore ankle that he injured last Saturday in the 67-56 loss at Dayton. 

If he doesn’t play, the Rams will turn to freshman point guard Ishmael Leggett, who was the leading scorer against VCU with 17 points — although he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with less than a second remaining in regulation that could have potentially won the game. 

UMass coach Matt McCall has had his work cut out for him recently, dealing with various injured players along with COVID-related issues.

Mitchell suffered a shoulder injury late against Dayton and was held out of the Minutemen’s last game against Fordham. Noah Fernandes was also absent as he sat out with a wrist injury. Dyondre Dominguez hasn’t played in the past four games due to an undefined ailment, and his status is unclear, as well. 

Mitchell and Fernandes account for 36.7% of the team’s total scoring this year.

Mitchell leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring, averaging 20.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. He’s a 6-foot-9, 240-pound center who is athletic enough to run the floor in this fast-paced UMass offense.

Whether or not those two play will be crucial for the Minutemen’s chances in this one. 

The Minutemen have had 13 games postponed or canceled since the beginning of the season. They haven’t been able to play 5-on-5 in practice since before their home game on Jan. 9.

The First Matchup

Rhode Island really struggled against the full-court press, turning the ball over 20 times in the teams’ first matchup. The Rams got some preparation for the Minutemen’s pressure last game against VCU, a team that also frequently runs a full-court press. 

The Minutemen defense shut down the Rams’ best scoring option on Jan. 13, holding Russell to just 12 points. Five of those were at the charity stripe, but he shot an abysmal 3-of-13 from the field. 

UMass was also a bit careless in the first matchup, turning the ball over 12 times. It made 20.0% of its 3-point attempts, connecting on just 6-of-30.

Defensively, it produced 16 steals which turned into easy transition baskets. URI has had an issue turning the ball over all season but has worked to improve on that stat recently. 

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Betting Analysis & Pick

UMass really struggled to score against Fordham, a performance that speaks volumes to the importance of Mitchell and Fernandes for this offense.

For a team that already has a thin bench, it could be a struggle for the Minutemen to put points on the board if those two don’t play.  

Rhode Island also struggled offensively against VCU without Russell. It shot just 26.3% from 3, making 5-of-19 attempts, and scoring only 62 points. 

With all of these players in question, I am anticipating a low-scoring game. With the three highest scorers in this game all being questionable after missing the last game, I am playing under 145.5.

Pick: Under 145.5 (down to 144).

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