VCU at St. Mary’s March Madness Pick, Prediction & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,March 15, 2017 11:34, EDT in

It’s a matchup of mid-major at-large teams in the NCAA Tournament’s West Region on Thursday night when No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth faces No. 7 Saint Mary’s. The winner most likely faces No. 2 Arizona on Saturday, and March Madness lines favor Saint Mary’s.

VCU at St. Mary’s March Madness Pick, Prediction & TV Info

When: Thursday, March 16, 7:20 PM ET
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
TV: TBS
StreamMarch Madness Live
RadioVCU / St. Mary’s
Opening NCAAB Lines: SMC -4

Why Bet On VCU?

The Rams still play with their trademark “Havoc” and will enter the NCAA’s after reaching the A-10 title game. Second-year coach Will Wade has VCU in the tournament yet again, with a roster that is yet again forcing a healthy number of turnovers. While some teams may live and die by the three, the Rams make only 5.8 long distance shots per game, ranking 302nd out of 351. VCU gets over 56% of their 75.0 points per game from two-pointers, the fourth-highest percentage in the field of 68.

VCU holds opponents to about 66 points a game, which is among the best in the nation. When opponents do get in the paint, senior forward Mo Alie-Cox protects the rim with 2.2 blocks per game, second in the Atlantic 10. They don’t have great size, but they do have versatility.

Senior guard JeQuan Lewis is an effective scorer and passer. Lewis averages team highs in points (14.7) and assists (4.6) per game, also coming up with 1.8 steals per game. Forwards Justin Tillman and Alie- Cox play bigger than their 6-foot- 7 frames in the paint.

SMC beat Atlantic 10 member Dayton 61-57 at Dayton in November, and VCU coach Will Wade watched some of the film of that game trying to pick up some of Saint Mary’s concepts on ball screens. This is the third consecutive year VCU has been in the West Region. The Rams have been in the region or in games on the West Coast five of the past six years.

Why Bet On Saint Mary’s?

Denied an at-large opportunity a year ago, the Gaels hope to make the most of this one. They play a stingy man-to- man defense that keeps them in most games, are efficient on offense (No. 3 in points per possession) and if three-point shots fall will be a tough out. The Gaels don’t have the depth to compensate for foul trouble.

The Gaels run one of the most efficient offenses in the tournament, ranking in the 99th percentile. They need to since they run the second-slowest pace out of all 351 teams in Division I. They take over 20 seconds, on average, in their 59 possessions per game. The Gaels rank 15th in offensive efficiency, 26th in defensive efficiency and fourth in effective field goal percentage.

Center Jock Landale shoots 60.9 percent from the field while leading the team in points (16.8) and rebounds (9.3). Forward Calvin Hermanson, guard Emmett Naar and center Evan Fitzner all shoot at least 43.7 percent from 3-point range.

The Gaels use sticky man-to- man defense and their ability to control the glass to thwart offenses. They have a plus-9.3 rebound margin per game, which ranks second nationally behind North Carolina. While the Gaels have won a lot of games, they have not had many “good wins” outside of beating Dayton on the road. There’s no doubt Saint Mary’s is good – it went 27-1 against teams not named Gonzaga – but it has something to prove in the NCAA Tournament.

VCU at St. Mary’s March Madness Pick: St. Mary’s Gaels

VCU plays in a deeper league overall, but Saint Mary’s handled just about everyone this year but Gonzaga.