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VCU vs. Wake Forest Odds & Picks for Saturday’s Second-Round NIT Clash

VCU vs. Wake Forest Odds & Picks for Saturday’s Second-Round NIT Clash article feature image
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Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah Mucius (Wake Forest)

  • VCU and Wake Forest take the floor in a second-round clash in the NIT from Winston-Salem, NC.
  • The Rams and Demon Deacons are likely to both want to push the tempo and play in transition.
  • Kyle Remillard breaks down this matchup and offers up his best bet.

VCU vs. Wake Forest Odds

Saturday, March 19
4 p.m. ET
ESPN+
VCU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-105
143.5
-114o / -106u
+155
Wake Forest Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-115
143.5
-114o / -106u
-188
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Wake Forest won its first tournament game; it just wishes it was in the NCAA Tournament and not the NIT. The Demon Deacons suffered two late regular-season losses to Clemson and Boston College, which left them outside of the cut line.

The program looked inspired in its first game in the National Invitational Tournament, defeating a strong Towson program by double digits. It was the Demon Deacons’ first victory in a postseason tournament since 2010.

They now will match up against VCU, which dominated Princeton in its first-round matchup. The Rams scored 90 points in the win, which is the highest mark for the program this season.

Wake Forest should embrace VCU’s chaotic playing style in this matchup, so that means the value lies on the total.

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VCU Rams

The VCU Rams struggled early in the season, dropping four of their first seven games. But the program recovered, winning 18 of its next 21 matchups before spiraling down the stretch.

Mike Rhoades has his group playing at a chaotic pace that pressures opponents for 40 minutes. That has led to the Rams’ defense forcing turnovers at the fourth-highest rate in the country.

The half-court defense is also strong, holding opponents to 28% from downtown (fourth) and 46% on 2-point attempts (29th).

But playing with that style has its negatives, as well. The defense allows offensive rebounds at one of the highest rates in the country, as the Rams are always looking to get out in transition.

Also, that fast pace has led to the defense fouling at the 319th rate in the country. That could be an issue against a Wake Forest program that gets to the free-throw line frequently.

The playing style has also led the offense to cough the ball up at the 341st rate in the country. The Rams rarely take outside shots, as 58% of the team’s points come from 2-point territory.

Vince Williams Jr. is the leading scorer on the roster, as he’s averaging 14 points and six rebounds per game. In the rare event that VCU takes an outside shot, it typically comes from Williams, who is shooting 39% from deep.

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wake Forest opened the season 20-5 before sputtering down the stretch, losing half of its final six games. The Demon Deacons play at an up-tempo pace that has led them to average just shy of 80 points per game.

Alondes Williams is the team’s leading scorer, putting up 19 points per game. He was limited to only five shot attempts in the first round of the NIT, his lowest total of the season.

Wake Forest’s offense thrives at scoring inside the paint. Steve Forbes’ group converts on 59% of its shot attempts from inside the perimeter, the third-highest rate in the nation. It takes 42% of its shot attempts from behind the arc and converts at a 35% clip.

The defense allows 70 points per game due its fast playing style. The defensive metrics are still solid, though, as the Deacs rank inside the top 50 in efficiency, according to KenPom. Wake holds opponents to 32% from deep and 47% on shot attempts inside the arc.


VCU vs. Wake Forest Betting Pick

This game is slated to be an up-and-down affair with both teams finding plenty of transition opportunities. Both offenses utilize minimal time on the shot clock before getting a shot attempt up. Each program ranks inside the top 100 in tempo, and it will show in this matchup.

VCU likes to utilize a full-court press and force its opponents to cough the ball up. Though the unit ranks fourth in the nation in defensive turnover rate, it also leads to easy buckets if the press is broken. Wake Forest dominates at scoring inside the paint, hitting 59% of its 2-point attempts.

VCU forced Princeton, which ranks 193rd in tempo, into an up-and-down affair that featured 163 points scored. Now, the Rams match up against a Wake Forest program that will embrace that fast pace of play and use it to its advantage.

I’m playing the over in this matchup because we will have transition buckets galore in a fast-paced affair.

Pick: Over 144 (Play to 146)

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