Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:35 AM EST.
2nd round of Atlantic 10 tournament - Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
12:00 PM EST. The VCU Rams have played in the championship game in each of their first five seasons in the A-10. The Rams have also been a mid-major staple at the Big Dance every year for quite some time now. In fact, VCU has been to NCAA tournament in seven straight years so they are not one of these unfamiliar mid-majors that don’t get a lot of press. However, this year is different, as the Rams will need to run the table in this tournament to get in and that’s very likely not happening. This year the Rams went 9-9 in conference and 17-14 overall, which is slightly better than Dayton’s 8-10 conference mark and 14-16 overall record. VCU has an appealing playoff pedigree, probably the best player on the floor in Justin Tillman and a better record this year than Dayton, yet they are a very small favorite today (-1 at time of this writing) on a neutral site. The line says that VCU’s better record than Dayton’s is nothing but fool’s gold and we’re not going to ignore what the number is telling us.
Some of the smartest basketball people will tell you that this sport is all about matchups and in that regard, the Rams could be trouble here. These two met twice during the regular season and while they split the two games with each team winning at home, one should pay attention to performances and matchups. Dayton absolutely dominated the Rams back in Philly in mid-January and barely broke a sweat in a 25-point victory. In the rematch game in VCU’s barn, the Rams needed OT to beat the Flyers by four. Psychologically, the Flyers are in good shape here. Furthermore, Dayton has started the tournament in the quarterfinals or advanced to at least the quarterfinals four years in a row so this is not unchartered territory. Lastly, the Flyers not only whacked the Rams once and took them to OT in the rematch, they also played a tougher non-conference (and overall) schedule than the Rams and as we’re finding out once again, strength of schedule matters. Flyers outright is the call.
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#677 Dayton -102 (Risking 2.04 units - To Win: 2.00)