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VCU-UMASS Showdown In Battle Of Top A-10 Teams

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/20/2014 8:19:01 PM

The Saint Louis Billikens are the only Atlantic 10 team ranked in the Top 25, but that may change as two 20-win teams face off in the VCU Rams and Massachusetts Minutemen. VCU nearly pulled the upset over the Billikens last Saturday as they lost by just two points and kept the game close the entire time showing they are worthy of Top 25 consideration. Sports bettors may not know much about these teams yet, but this game is a great way to judge if one or both of them can make some noise come March Madness time.

VCU Rams @ Massachusetts Minutemen
Friday February 21, 2014 – 7 PM ET
Odds: VCU -5.5

What To Watch For From The VCU Rams

The Rams are a team that likes to spread the floor, which should allow both Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson to excel against a UMASS team that is more forward dominant. Both shoot over 40% from the field, but Johnson is the team’s only three-point threat as he makes 40% from deep, by large the highest percentage on the team. The Rams have their own big man that can bang down low in Juvonte Reddic, who is a three-year starter and will be tasked with stopping the numerous big men Massachusetts will send to the floor. VCU does score 76 points per game, but their field goal percentage of 42% as a team is one of the worst in the nation, so a bad shooting night is a definite possibility.

What To Watch For From The Massachusetts Minutemen

Whereas VCU is more guard dominant, the Minutemen are a team build around there big men down low. Their leading scorer is Chaz Williams, a 5-9” senior guard, but the other three players they have averaging double figures in the point column are all 6-8” or taller. Cody Lalanne is the one you must keep an eye on as the junior is averaging nearly 13 points and nine rebounds per game on 58% shooting. Lalanne however hasn’t been his dominating self as of late as he’s scored over eight points just once in his last three games, and has grabbed double digit rebounds just twice in the past month.


These two teams were built very differently, but on Friday night they will meet and see who is better and on their way to possibly being ranked in the Top 25. VCU must avoid a poor night shooting the ball because although their defense is solid, the height advantage UMASS holds could be the deciding factor. If Lalanne was playing better as of late I would be more inclined to side with the Minutemen, but because he’s been rather unspectacular I’m putting my money on the VCU Rams.

Pick: VCU

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