Date and Time: Saturday, March 1st, 2014 6:00 PM EST on ESPN2

Game Line: VCU -5 (from JustBet)

Saturday NCAABB analysis: In what should be one of the more entertaining contests on Saturday, the Virginia Commonwealth Rams host the #10 ranked St. Louis Billikens in a key Atlantic 10 conference tilt.

The VCU Rams (21-7) are currently 3rd in the Atlantic 10, and have been struggling as of late, losing 3 out their last 5 with road losses at St. Joseph’s, at St. Louis, and at UMass. They’ve been a great team at home this year with their only loss coming in late November, losing by 4 to Georgetown. The Rams are averaging 76.2 ppg, and are shooting 41.9% from the field this season. They have has their struggles with turning the ball over as their 1.06 assist to turnover ratio would indicate. They are one of the better rebounding teams, and are 9th in the nation in offensive rebounds (14.4 per game). Their defense can give opponents fits with their full court trap, and they are tops in the nation in steals with 11.5 per game. They are allowing opponents to shoot 43.5% from the field, yet defend the perimeter well, limiting opponents to shoot only 29% from 3 point land.

The Atlantic 10 conference leading St. Louis Billikens (25-3) had been rolling until Thursday night. They had won 19 games in a row, but were upset by Duquesne as there was no doubt they were looking ahead to Saturday’s contest. The Billikens are averaging 70.9 ppg while shooting 44.3% from the field. They are also pretty efficient on the offensive end with an assist to turnover ratio of 1.17. They’re average on the boards, averaging 36.7 rpg, while grabbing 10.6 of those per game on the offensive end. Defensively they are one of the better teams in the country, allowing only 60.3 ppg and limiting opponents to 39.3% shooting from the field. They are 2nd in the nation defending the perimeter, limiting opponents to shooting just 27.6% from beyond the arc.

Maybe it’s too good to be true, but I’m grabbing the points on Saturday with the Billikens. When these two teams met last, St. Louis was in control the entire game and dictated the flow. They just allowed VCU to storm back time after time, which has been somewhat of a disturbing trend. If you take a look at St. Louis’ last couple of games, they’ve allowed teams to hang around.  Finally, last Thursday night, it caught up to them and they had their win streak snapped. In all honesty, if St. Louis would have won Thursday night I would be on VCU. However that’s not the case, and in turn I think you’ll get a focused effort from the Billikens on Saturday. The Billikens have only lost on the road once this season, and that was on a neutral court against a quality Wisconsin team losing by 6. I don’t think the home court is that much of an advantage in this one. If St. Louis can dictate the tempo, which I think they can, I see no reason why they can’t keep this within the number, as they are in fact the better squad.

St. Louis Billikens at VCU Rams Free NCAABB pick: St. Louis +5

St. Louis Billikens at VCU Rams Game Prediction: St. Louis 70 VCU 67

 

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