Rhode Island In Bounce-Back Spot vs. Davidson in A-10 Rematch

Friday, March 2, 2018 3:00 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 2, 2018 3:00 PM UTC

Rhode Island visits Davidson tonight at 8 ET in the regular-season finale for both teams. Davidson is a small favorite, but are they an easy winner with your NCAAB picks?

Friday College Basketball: Rhode Island vs. DavidsonFree NCAAB Pick: Rhode Island +2.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Rhode Island must look like the worst bet in the world today. The 17th-ranked Rams (23-5 SU, 14-12 ATS) got creamed Tuesday at home, by 30 points against a St. Joseph's squad with a losing record. So why should bettors not forsake them?

When the Rams played St. Joseph's, they were in a classic betting scenario called the "let-down spot." They had just clinched their first outright A-10 title in school history by beating Dayton the previous Friday. According to head coach Dan Hurley, they let their emotions get the better of them: "... For a couple of days we were taking victory laps." They were neither excited nor prepared for a game in which, as 13.5-point favorites, they were expected to walk through for a victory. Normally strong on offense, the Rams completed 42.9 percent from two and an atrocious 3-for-29 from three.

A team defines itself by its response to adversity. Rhode Island, which has tournament ambitions, will be motivated to bounce back and regain confidence and momentum. Davidson (17-11 SU, 15-12 ATS) is just the team they want to face in this situation. The Rams are 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in their last four against the Wildcats.

When these two teams met on Feb. 9, the Rams won 72-59, easily covering as 5.5-point favorites. The Rams presented a balanced offensive attack while limiting Davidson's offensive strength. The Wildcats, more than any other A-10 team, rely on three-pointers for their scoring production and have the second-highest proportion of three-point attempts. But against the Rams they converted only four of 17 three-pointers. The Rams match up strongly against Davidson because they have the A-10's best perimeter defense. They rank first in opposing three-point percentage and allow the lowest proportion of three-point attempts. The Rams have a strong history against Davidson because this matchup element has repeatedly been a decisive factor. Last season, Davidson converted 16 of 65 (24.6 percent) threes combined in its three losses against the Rams. Its most efficient three-point shooter, forward KiShawn Pritchett, went 2-for-11 (18.1 percent) from three in Davidson's last four games against RI.

Davidson, not Rhode Island, is in a bad spot. The Wildcats are 0-3 ATS in the game following a 90+ point performance. The Wildcats are coming off a triple-overtime thriller on Saturday. So not only do they match up poorly against the Rams' defense, they also won't have the legs to keep up with them.

RI's three-point attack is led by guard/forward Jared Terrell, who leads the team with 17.6 points per game. Terrell, who converted one of seven three-point opportunities in his last game, is typically a strong bounce-back player. In 16 conference games, he converted 25 percent or fewer three-point attempts four times. In three times out of four, he converted more than 50 percent in the following game. Terrell ranks 248th in three-point percentage and is the A-10's seventh-best player in the category, completing 43 percent from three in conference play.

The Rams are strongest inside the arc. They rank fifth in two-point shooting despite sleeping through their most recent game. Five different players completed more than 60 percent from two in the teams' first match-up. This variety of talent helped RI build a 49-29 point lead in the second-half before they took their foot off the gas pedal.

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Rhode Island will keep cruising tonight. With our NCAAB picks, we'll take the Rams and the number on the college basketball odds board.

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