2012 Colonial Athletic Association Championship Game
#2 Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs #1 Drexel Dragons
Richmond Coliseum – Richmond, Virginia
Monday, March 5, 2012, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: VCU -2 1/2
Current Line: VCU -3
Opening Line: 118
Current Line: 118
Opening Money Line: VCU -140 / Drexel +120
Current Money Line: VCU -150 / Drexel +130
Last year, the VCU were on the bubble and barely made the NCAA tournament field. In fact, the Rams played in one of the four opening round games. However, as most people know VCU parlayed their opportunity into an unlikely run to the Final Four. The Rams again find themselves on the bubble this season, as they take on #1 seed Drexel in the CAA championship game.
Most experts say that VCU must win the auto-bid to get into the tournament. The 27-6 Rams finished second in the conference with a 15-3 record. VCU has won 16 of their last 17 games, with only a one point loss at George Mason during that stretch. VCU beat Northeastern 75-65 in the quarters of the CAA tournament, and beat Mason 74-64 in the semis.
Drexel was 27-5 this season and won the CAA regular season title with a 16-2 record. Drexel has won 19 games in a row, and hasn’t lost since January 2 at Georgia St. The Dragons beat NC-Wilmington 59-47 in the quarterfinals and Old Dominion 68-51 in the semis.
VCU leads the series 12-8 against Drexel. The Dragons won the only meeting in the regular season 64-58 at home January 8th.
VCU is coached by Shaka Smart. The Rams have wins over Western Kentucky twice, South Florida, George Washington, Richmond, UAB, Northern Iowa, and Akron. VCU has losses to Seton Hall, Georgia Tech, Alabama, and Georgia St in addition to the Drexel and Mason losses.
Drexel is coached by James Flint. The Dragons have wins over Rider, Winthrop, Princeton, Niagara, Bradley, Fairfield, George Mason, and Cleveland St. Drexel has losses to Norfolk St, Virginia, St. Joseph’s, and Delaware.
VCU is outscoring opponents 69-60 this season. The Rams are #22 in points allowed. The rams are shooting 41% from the field, and 33.9% from 3 point range. VCU makes 68.9% of their free throws. The Rams average 34 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of -1. VCU averages 12.4 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 10.7 steals, and 3.6 blocks a game. Ram opponents are shooting 42.5% from the field and 31.4% from 3 point range. VCU forces 17.9 turnovers a game.
VCU guard-forward Brandon Burgess averages 13.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. He is shooting 37.1% from 3 point range. Juvonte Reddic averages 10.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks a game. He leads the Rams in rebounds and blocks. Troy Daniels averages 10 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.2 steals a game. He makes 38.3% of his three pointers. Rob Brandenburg, Darius Theus, Treveon Graham, and Briante Weber all get significant minutes in the rotation. Theus leads the team in assists with 4.7 a game, and Weber leads the team in steals with 2.3 a game. Forward Heath Houston is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Drexel is outscoring opponents 65-55 this season. The Dragons are in the top ten nationally in opponents’ scoring, field goal percentage (38.4%), and 3 point percentage (28.3%). Drexel is shooting 43.8% from the field and 37.4% from 3 point range. The Dragons make 74.5% of their free throws. Drexel averages 35.3 rebounds a game but has a rebounding margin of +5.7. Drexel averages 12.5 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 4.8 steals, and 3.3 blocks a game. The Dragons force 11.1 turnovers a game.
Drexel guard Frantz Massenat averages 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 0.9 steals a game. He leads the team in scoring, assists, and is tied for the team lead in steals. He is shooting 45% from 3 point range. Damion Lee averages 12.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists a game. He makes 37.7% from 3 point range. Samme Givens averages 11.7 points, 7.8 rebounds to lead the team, 1.8 assists, and 1.1 blocks a game to also lead the team. Chris Fouch averages 10.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists a game. He is shooting 34.4% from 3 point range. Derrick Thomas averages 8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists a game. He is suspended indefinitely. Daryl McCoy averages 7 rebounds a game.
Drexel is 19-11 ATS and the total is 14-15-1 this season. VCU is 17-14-1 ATS and the total is 15-16-1 this season. The underdog is 12-5-1 ATS in this series recently, and Drexel has covered the last 4. The under is 4-0-1 in the last 5 in the series. The Rams are 7-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 7-3 as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, 1-5 in Monday games, 0-4 after a cover, 0-5 in neutral site games, and as a neutral site favorite. The Dragons are 8-0 ATS against teams with winning records, 4-1 after a straight up win, 11-3 after a cover, 14-4 in CAA games, 16-5 overall, 12-5 as an underdog of 6.5 points or less, and 3-8 in neutral site games.
Drexel should probably be favored except the game is in VCU’s home city of Richmond (though not in their home arena.) Over the past four seasons, VCU is 62-9 in games played in Richmond, including 9-2 in the Richmond Coliseum. This should be a great game as both teams are red hot. I like Drexel to pull off the mild upset. Both teams have really great defenses and this should go under as well.
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