VCU to Spoil Rhode Island’s Perfect Atlantic 10 Campaign

rhode island vcu

Willie Bee

Friday, February 2, 2018 1:15 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 1:15 PM UTC

No. 22 Rhode Island takes an unbeaten Atlantic 10 Conference record into Richmond as favorites on the NCAA basketball odds, and VCU would love to see its foe leave with a loss. It will. 

No. 22 Rhode Island Rams at VCU RamsFree NCAAB Pick: VCU +140Best Line Offered: Heritage

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In case you haven’t caught a game involving No. 22 Rhode Island yet, you’re in luck with the Rams appearing in televised matchups the next five Friday evenings. The first of those Friday night fights just might be their toughest with a road trip to Richmond to face the VCU Rams.

ESPN2 will carry this double-Rams contest beginning at 7 PM (ET) from Siegel Center. It’s a clash of the top teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Rhode Island alone on top with a spotless 10-0 record and Virginia Commonwealth standing 6-3. BetOnline opened the Rhode Island -5 before that was quickly corrected to -3½, and 151 is the total.

Rhody Has To Slow VCU’s Tillman Inside

Rhode Island was tested its last two times out, Dan Hurley’s squad rallying for a 61-58 win over Duquesne as 16½-point home chalk and then holding on for dear life at UMass a few nights ago to claim an 85-83 decision as a 9½-point road favorite -- missing covers in both games came after beating the spreads in the previous four triumphs. The No. 22/21 Rams haven’t been the underdogs since just before this 13-game streak started, a 68-64 defeat at Alabama that pushed a +4 line.

Mike Rhoades’ Rams have been climbing up the A-10 ladder with three consecutive wins, covering the NCAA basketball odds and sending ‘over’ bettors to the pay window each time. Tightening up the perimeter defense has been one factor in VCU’s modest string of dubyas, and Jordan Tillman’s presence inside is another. The senior recorded double-doubles in the victories at Saint Louis and George Mason – giving him 11 on the campaign – and averaged more than 20 per game on 26 of 46 shooting (56%).

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Thirteen wins in a row and perfect in the conference.
It's a good time to be @RhodyMBB.

— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) January 31, 2018

Series Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

In just their sixth season as conference rivals, this is still a budding rivalry with tonight’s encounter the 11th in series history and only one on the schedule this year. Virginia Commonwealth has a 6-4 advantage up to now, though it’s Rhode Island coming out on top in the last two meetings. The most recent was the 2017 A-10 Championship, Rhode Island winning by a 70-63 count to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Two of the last three matchups in Richmond went ‘over’ the marks.

Six more weeks of winter is the weather forecast out of Punxsutawney this morning, and we’re probably going to see roughly four more weeks of Rhode Island on top of the A-10 standings. But the regular season won’t end with the Rams unbeaten in league play, and in this double-Rams battle, I like the home side on the money line for my free college basketball pick.

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