Selection Sunday Top ATS Pick: Rhode Island vs. VCU

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, March 12, 2017 12:59 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 12, 2017 12:59 PM UTC

All of the sudden I find myself not treading water anymore, and in the midst of a nice 6-1 ATS heater in these college basketball conference tournaments. It’s Selection Sunday, so we have a limited slate of games, but I think I have found the nugget that will cash us a ticket as we get ready for March Madness.

2016-17 NCAAB Record: 50-34-2, +12.81 Units 


Rhode Island vs. Virginia Commonwealth

It’s the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament championship game, and the #2 and #3 seeds are all that is left between disappointment and a ticket to the Big Dance. VCU comes in as the #2 seed at 26-7 SU on the season and 14-4 in conference, while the Rhode Island Rams are riding a 7-game winning streak and 23-9 SU record as the #3 seed. The Rams will win this game, I can guarantee you that, and most books have this as a pick’em between the two namesakes. BookMaker has a lean towards Rhode Island however, giving us the opportunity to take VCU at +1.

These teams met two weeks ago on Rhode Island’s home floor, with the Rams… err… Rhode Island winning 69-59 and covering as a 3-5-point home favorite. Both teams shot poorly in that match up, with VCU hitting at 35.2% from the field and Rhode Island converting at 35.4%. With that poor shooting, it is not a surprise that the total went 11 points under the O/U listed at 139.

In that first game, it must be noted how strange the scoring performance was for VCU. Their top 4 scorers this season, who are responsible for a combined 46 points per game, only scored 23 points against Rhode Island on the road. This included one of the worst performances from beyond the arc in recent memory, as VCU went an abysmal 1-15 from distance. Not one starter hit a 3-pointer for VCU in 10 attempts, and starters also went a horrible 9 of 16 from the charity stripe. I won’t say that this performance can’t be repeated, but I can shoot better than that and I don’t have a scholarship to a Division I school for basketball, so I believe some kind of regression to average should be expected here for VCU. VCU averages 46.6% from the floor on the season, for reference.

Rhode Island matches up very similar to VCU size-wise on the floor, so there isn’t much else to go on statistically to show that their performance in the first game can be repeated. They outrebounded VCU in the first game, but that is to be expected if the other team is throwing up bricks all game. Since I don’t think that will be repeated here, I am taking VCU to punch their ticket to the Big Dance and am taking them at +1 as my Sunday college basketball pick.

Free NCAAB Pick: VCU +1
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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