College Basketball West Region First Round: #10 Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs #7 Oregon State Beavers

2016 NCAA Tournament
West Region – First Round
#10 Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs #7 Oregon State Beavers
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Friday, March 18, 2016, 1:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: VCU -4
Current Line: VCU -4
Opening Total: 141
Current Total: 141
Opening Money Line: VCU -200 / Oregon State +170
Current Money Line: VCU -190 / Oregon State  +165

VCU is favored over Oregon State in the West Region First Round in OKC.
VCU is favored over Oregon State in the West Region First Round in OKC.

The 24-10 Virginia Commonwealth Rams take on the 19-12 Oregon State Beavers in the first round of the South region Friday in Oklahoma City. While Oregon State is the #7 seed and VCU is the #10 seed, these seeds should probably be reversed. The Pac 12 is considered a stronger conference than the Atlantic 10, but the oddsmakers consider VCu the favorite. The winner between Oregon State and Virginia Commonwealth will face either #2 Oklahoma or #15 CS-Bakersfield in the second round Sunday. This is the first ever meeting between the Rams and Beavers.

VCU is coached by Will Wade. The Rams are playing in their 15th NCAA Tournament including six straight. VCU tied for first place in the Atlantic 10 at 14-4 with Dayton and St. Bonaventure. The Rams beat Massachusetts in the quarterfinals of the A-10 tournament in Brooklyn and Davidson in the semifinals. However, VCU lost to St. Joseph’s  87-74 in the championship game. VCU went 4-5 against NCAA Tournament teams.

VCU has neutral site losses to Duke and Wisconsin in New York City, and Florida State in Atlanta, plus road losses at Georgia Tech, UMass, George Mason, and Dayton. The Rams have home losses to Cincinnati and George Washington. VCU has home wins over American, Old Dominion, Buffalo, Liberty, North Florida, George Mason, Fordham, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis, Rhode Island, Richmond and Davidson. The Rams have road wins over Middle Tennessee, St. Joseph’s, Saint Louis, Richmond, Davidson, LaSalle, and George Washington. The Rams are 20-9 ATS and the total is 14-15 this season. VCU was a 4 point favorite against St. Joseph’s and the total was 148.

Oregon State is coached by Wayne Tinkle. Oregon State is making their 17th appearance in the tournament, but first since 1990. Oregon State was part of a three way tie for sixth in the Pac 12 at 9-9 with USC and Washington. The Beavers beat Arizona State in the first round of the Pac 12 Tournament but lost to California 76-68 in the quarters in Las Vegas. The Beavers went 7-8 against NCAA Tournament teams.

Oregon State has a neutral site loss to Kansas in Kansas City, plus road losses to Colorado, Utah, Arizona State, Arizona, California, Oregon, and USC. The Beavers have home losses to Valparaiso, Stanford and UCLA. Oregon State has neutral site wins over CS-Fullerton and Tulsa, plus road wins over Rice, UC-Santa Barbara, Stanford and UCLA. The Beavers have home wins over Iona, Loyola Marymount, Nevada, Oregon, California, USC, Utah, Colorado, Washington, and Washington State.  Oregon State is 16-13-1 ATS and the total is 20-10 this season. Oregon State was an 8 point underdog against Cal and the total was 137.5.

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VCU is outscoring teams 77-67 this season. The Rams are shooting 45% from the field and 35.6% from three point range. VCU makes 69% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 33.6% from three point range. VCU averages 37.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.4 per game. The Rams average 14.4 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 8.8 steals and 3.8 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.8 assists, 15.4 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.1 blocks per game.

Melvin Johnson averages 17.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Korey Billbury averages 11.6 points, 5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. JeQuan Lewis averages 10.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Mo Alie-Cox averages 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.9 blocks per game. Justin Tillman averages 7.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Five other players will get significant time in the rotation.

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Oregon State is outscoring teams 72-70 this season. The Beavers are shooting 44.1% from the field and 37% from three point range. OSU makes 67.1% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 42.7% from the field and 32.9% from three point range. The Beavers average 34.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.4 rebounds per game. Oregon State averages 13.5 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 7.5 steals and 3.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.9 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 3.8 blocks per game.

Gary Payton II averages 15.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.5 steals per game. His father was the point guard for the last OSU team to make the tournament. Tres Tinkle averages 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Stephen Thompson, Jr. averages 10.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Six other players will get time in the rotation Daniel Gomis and Kendal Manuel are also both out indefinitely.

VCU is 5-0 ATS in Friday games, 4-0 against Pac 12 times, 5-1 after failing to cover, 13-3 in NCAA tournament games, 4-1 after a straight up loss, 8-2 in neutral site games, 11-4 against teams with winning records, 24-9 overall, and 9-4 in non-conference games.

Oregon State is 3-0-1 ATS in neutral site games, 6-1 in Friday games, 3-1-1 overall, 7-3 after a straight up loss, and 1-3-1 against teams with winning records.

Without Tinkle, I don’t know if Oregon State has enough to scoring to keep up with the Rams. Besides Payton and Thompson, no Beaver scores more than 7.4 points per game. I think VCU wins this game comfortably.

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