A well-rested Cleveland St. team will travel to Richmond, where they will face the VCU Rams at the Siegel Center. It will be a battle of teams where each expect to contend for their Conference crowns.
Cleveland St. vs. VCU (-14-) 7:00 ET
At 7 pm Monday evening, a well-rested Cleveland St. team will travel to Richmond, where they will face the VCU Rams at the Siegel Center. It will be a battle of teams who are each expected to contend for their Conference crowns. Cleveland St. figures to battle Green Bay for Horizon League supremacy, while VCU is once again projected as the top team in the Atlantic 10.
The VCU program has skyrocketed to national prominence under 6th year HC Shaka Smart. Honing his craft under Florida HC Billy Donovan, Smart made an immediate impact on the VCU program. In his 5 years at the helm, his Rams have won at least 26 games in every season. The play of his Rams is characterized by a “havoc defense.” His well-conditioned team applies 40 minutes of end-to-end pressure defense against opponents, who are ill-prepared for that type of onslaught. This year’s team, with 3 RS, is off to a 9-3 SU start. Losses have come to top ranked teams, Villanova and Virginia, along with a shocking road defeat at ODU. But since the loss to Virginia on December 6th, the Rams have ripped off 4 consecutive victories, including 3 straight covers, in which they have beaten the line by 41 points. That has resulted in this bloated pointspread, which puts HC Smart in his worst pointspread situation. For his Rams are just 10-21 ATS as college basketball odds home favorite of more than 12 points. The main reason for this inefficiency is that like many of Smart’s teams in the past, they are not very efficient in the half court.
Enter Cleveland St., who is smartly coached by 9th year mentor Gary Waters. Fundamentally speaking, Cleveland St. has the veteran guards who are able to handle the VCU pressure. Two years ago, the Vikings had a rare down season under Waters, with just 14 victories. As expected, Cleveland St. bounced back with a strong 21-12 SU season last year, including 12-4 SU in the Horizon League. This year, with 4 RS once again, Cleveland St. will look to contend for Horizon supremacy. Last year, Cleveland St. provided great pointspread value with a 20-10 ATS record. This included 6-2 ATS in the role of road dog. Again this season, the Vikings had been a solid winner as traveler. This includes 4-1 ATS overall on the road and runs their 2-year road dog record to 9-3 ATS. Though they have suffered 6 defeats this season, only one of them, at Virginia (a 16 point loss), has been by more than this number. And remember, VCU lost to Virginia by 17 points.
With each coach in play-on and play-against roles and generous pointspread value, expect the Vikings to come in comfortably under the number today at the Siegel Center and take them as your NCAA basketball pick.
College Basketball Pick: Cleveland St. at 5Dimes