NCAA Basketball Picks: VCU vs. Virginia

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:29 PM GMT

The VCU Rams and Virginia Cavaliers haven’t met on the hard court in 15 years, as the two in-state rivals prepare to face off Tuesday night. Where have we decided to look with our NCAA Basketball picsk in this matchup tonight?

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this non-conference matchup at John Paul Jones Arena, with the opening tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

Both sides are ranked 

This will be the first-ever meeting in this rivalry with both sides ranked, as VCU comes off a 96-58 season-opening victory over Illinois State as 21-point home favorites—holding a sizable 52-22 lead at the break in that affair. 

Over the last two-plus seasons, the Rams have lost and failed to cover the spread in their two meetings against ACC opponents, with no clear edge in terms of the betting total. 

Controlling the break

Virginia is coming off a 61-41 win over James Madison as 22.5-point home favorites to open up its 2013-14 campaign, but the program has been preparing for this particular matchup all offseason.

The Cavaliers held 33 of 35 opponents to 10 or fewer fast-break points last year, which is important to handicap when making your college basketball predictions, considering the Rams score 31.4 percent of their points in that fashion.

65 is the key number

College basketball handicappers need to find out if the Rams are capable of hitting the 65-point barrier in this contest, as they’ve won 52 of their last 55 games when accomplishing that feat. 

Four of tonight’s five probable starters scored in double figures last time out, with junior guard Treveon Graham and senior forward Terrance Shannon leading the way in netting 14 points apiece. 

Playing at home 

The Cavaliers set a school record by posting a 20-2 record at this venue last season, while they’ve compiled a 56-17 home record under Bennett’s direction.

It’s important to point out that the program has a losing 7-13 SU record versus Top 25 foes in its last 20 opportunities.

[gameodds]14/249193/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cavaliers with their NCAA Basketball picks due to their 15-7-1 ATS record in their last 23 non-conference games. 

College Basketball Pick:  Virginia Cavaliers -4.5

Also take a look at our previews of tonight's biggest matchups:

NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan State vs. Kentucky

NCAA Basketball Picks: Kansas vs. Duke