West Region Second Round Betting Preview: #10 Ohio State Buckeyes vs #7 VCU Rams

2015 NCAA Tournament
West Region Second Round

#7 Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs #10 Ohio State Buckeyes
Moda Center – Portland, Oregon
Thursday, March 19, 2015, 4:40 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Ohio State -2 1/2 (-113)
Current Line: Ohio State -4
Opening Total: 136 1/2
Current Total: 136
Opening Money Line: Ohio State -155 / VCU +135
Current Money Line: Ohio State -175 / VCU +155

Ohio State is a 4 point favorite against VCU in the west region second round Thursday in Portland.
Ohio State is a 4 point favorite against VCU in the west region second round Thursday in Portland.

Both the 26-9 Virginia Commonwealth Rams and 23-10 Ohio State Buckeyes have made Final Four runs in recent seasons. However, both are seeded lower than normally as they meet in the 7-10 game in the West Region Thursday in Portland. The winner will face either #2 Arizona or #15 Texas Southern in the third round Saturday.  VCU and Ohio State have never played before.

Ohio State finished sixth in the Big Ten at 11-7. The Buckeyes lost 76-67 to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals Friday. Ohio State is making their 9th trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last 10 seasons. The Buckeyes went 3-9 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

VCU tied for 4th in the Atlantic 10 with Rhode Island at 12-6. The Rams won the A-10 tournament and beat the top two seeds Davidson in the semifinals and Dayton 71-65 in the Championship game. VCU is making their fifth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Rams went 7-4 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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Ohio State is coached by Thad Matta. The Buckeyes have road losses at Louisville, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan, neutral site losses to North Carolina in Chicago and Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament also in Chicago, plus home losses to Iowa and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes have home wins over Marquette, James Madison, Colgate, Miami-(OH), Wright State, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Maryland, Penn State, Nebraska, and Purdue, plus road wins at Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers, and Penn State plus a neutral site win over Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State is 15-16-1 ATS and the total is 16-14-1 this season. The Buckeyes were 2 point underdogs against Michigan State and the total was 134.5.

VCU is coached by Shaka Smart. The Rams have a  neutral site loss to Villanova in Brooklyn, road losses at Old Dominion, St. Bonaventure, Richmond and Davidson, plus home losses to Virginia, Richmond, LaSalle, and Dayton. VCU has won 5 straight games after a late season 3 game losing streak. The Rams have neutral site wins over Tennessee in Annapolis, Oregon in Brooklyn, Fordham, Richmond, Davidson and Dayton in the A-10 tournament in Brooklyn, plus home wins over Toledo, Northern Iowa, Belmont, Cleveland State, Davidson, St. Joseph’s, George Washington,  Saint Louis, Massachusetts, and George Mason, and road wins over Illinois State, Cincinnati, Fordham, Rhode Island, Duquesne, Saint Louis, George Mason, and George Washington. The Rams are 14-20 ATS and the total is 13-16 this season. VCU was a 2 point favorite against Dayton and the total was 129.5.

Ohio State is outscoring teams 76-62 this season. The Buckeyes are #24 in scoring nationally. Ohio State is shooting 48.6% from the field and 37.2% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes are #9 nationally in field goal percentage. OSU makes 67.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.5% from the field and 31.8% from 3 point range. Ohio State averages 35.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.9. The Buckeyes average 15.4 assists, 11.3 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.9 assists, 14.7 turnovers, 5 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.

D’Angelo Russell averages 19.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Sam Thompson averages 10.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Marc Loving averages 9.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Jae’Sean Tate averages 8.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Shannon Scott averages 8.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Five other players average at least 10 minutes a game in the rotation. Forward Anthony Lee is questionable with a knee injury.

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VCU is outscoring teams 73-66 this season. The Rams are shooting 42% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. VCU makes 65.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 43.2% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. The Rams average 35.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 33.3. VCU averages 12.6 assists, 10.7 rebounds, 9.7 steals and 4.3 blocks per game.

Traveon Graham averages 16.3 points, 7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Melvin Johnson averages 12.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game. JeQuan Lewis averages 8.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Briante Weber averages averaged 8.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.9 steals per game, but he is out for the season with a knee injury. Mo Alie-Cox averages 7.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Five other players average at least 10 minutes a game in the rotation.

Ohio State is 10-2-1 ATS after failing to cover, 6-2 after a straight up loss, 3-9 in Thursday games, 2-10 in neutral site games, and 0-4 in NCAA Tournament games.

VCU is 12-3 ATS in NCAA Tournament games, 4-1 in neutral site games, and 2-5-1 in Thursday games.

Many were surprised that Ohio State was seeded so low. A #10 seed means they were basically one of the last teams selected for the field. Still Ohio State is a very dangerous team and certainly can win this game. Both Ohio State and VCU like to play in the 70’s but Ohio State is better defensively. I think that will be the difference as the Buckeyes win.

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