Colonial Athletic Association Championship
Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs Old Dominion Monarchs
Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Monday, March 7, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: ODU -3 1/2
Current Line: ODU -4 1/2
Opening Total: 124
Current Total: 124 1/2
Money Line: ODU -210 / VCU +175
Virginia Commonwealth upset heavily favored George Mason in the semifinals of the CAA tournament yesterday 79-63. Up next for the rams is another in-state rival the Old Dominion Monarchs. Both George Mason and Old Dominion are expected to receive at-large bids to the NCAA tournament next week, but VCU needs to win this game or they are headed to the NIT. VCU is 23-10 on the season and 12-6 in conference. They finished 4th in the CAA. The Rams have an RPI of 49 and SOS rank of 91. VCU beat Drexel 62-60 in the quarters and upset mason in the semis to get to the championship game. Old Dominion is 26-6 overall and 14-4 in the CAA, which was second in the conference 2 games behind Mason. They have an 8 game winning streak right now including wins over Delaware 59-50 in the quarters and 77-59 over Hofstra in the semis. Old Dominion is number 24 in the RPI and have an SOS rank of 72.
The two teams split the regular season series with each winning on the other’s home court. VCU won at Old Dominion 59-50 on January 22. Old Dominion won at VCU 70-59 on February 12. VCU is 19-15 straight up in the series since 1997 and 22-11 ATS in those games, and 13 out of the last 17 have gone over the total. In the last 3 years, the teams have split 8 meetings, but VCU is 5-3 ATS.
VCU guard Troy Daniels has missed the last 10 games with a foot injury and is out indefinitely. Daniels scores only 2.4 points a game, so the loss isn’t devastating for the Rams. Forward Jamie Skeen averages 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 blocks a game. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocks. Guard Bradford Burgess averages 13.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.1 steals. Guard Brandon Rozzell averages 11.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals a game to tie for the team lead. Guard Joey Rodriguez averages 10.7 points, 3.5 points, 4.7 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. He leads the team in assists is tied for the team lead in steals. The top 4 scorers shoot over 34% from 3 point range.VCU is outscoring opponents 72-66 on the season. The Rams shoot 43.7% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. Ram opponents shoot 44.9% from the field. VCU makes 72.4% of their free throws. They average 32.3 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of -3.4. The Rams average 14.2 assists and 11.6 turnovers a game. They force 14.8 turnovers a game on defense. The Rams average 8.5 steals and 3.8 blocks a game.
Old Dominion has no significant injuries right now. The Monarchs are led by senior forward Frank Hassell who is averaging 14.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.3 blocks a game. He is leading the team in points, rebounds, and blocks. Guard/forward Kent Bazemore averages 12.4 points, 5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.3 steals to lead the team, and 0.9 blocks a game. Guard Ben Finney averages 9.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. Guard Darius James leads the team in assists with 3.2 a game. ODU is outscoring opponents 66-58 on the season. The Monarchs are shooting 42.8% from the field and 32.6% from 3-point range. Monarch opponents are shooting 40.4% from the field. Old Dominion makes 66.8% of their free throws. Old Domino averages 40.2 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +12.1. They average 14.5 rebounds and 12.3 turnovers a game. The Monarch force 11.5 turnovers a game on defense. They average 6.8 steals and 4.5 blocks a game.
Old Dominion has a huge edge in rebounding and defense. VCU is a better offensive team. However, none of that really matters when you are playing your arch-rival for a shot at going to the NCAA tournament. Old Domionion is probably pretty safe as far as a bid, but mid-major teams like ODU can’t take a chance that the selection comittee will select them if there are upsets later in the week when the big conferences begin their tournaments. And upsets are a given in March, which is why they call it Madness. The game will be close throughout, but I think the Monarchs cover late.
Our college basketball handicappers are red hot as the post-season begins this week with wall-to-wall conference tournaments. don’t miss out on anymore winners this season.