Saint Louis Billikens at VCU Rams – NCAAM February 23

No. 7 Saint Louis (11-4, 4-3) at No. 2 VCU (16-5, 9-3)

  • Time: 3PM PST | 5PM CST | 6PM EST
  • Location: Siegel Center, Richmond, VA
  • TV: CBS Sports Network

Opening Tip

The rigors of COVID-19 cost Saint Louis a month from Dec. 30 – Jan. 29. The Billikens have been able to ramp it up in February with only one postponement. They are 4-2 in February as Dayton ended SLU’s four-game winning streak last Friday evening.

VCU has had essentially the same covid woes as they have been intermittent since A-10 play began. The Rams six-game win streak was ended on Saturday as George Mason handed VCU a 79-76 overtime defeat in Richmond.

The Rams hold a 10-4 lead in the series and they are 6-0 at home vs. the Billikens.

The game was set to feature the third leading scorer in the A-10 in the Rams’ Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland (19.2 ppg), but he is listed as out with a foot injury. Saint Louis boasts the top rebounder in the league in the Billikens’ Jordan Goodwin (10.4 rpg).

Hyland reportedly has had his foot in a cast and is diagnosed with a foot sprain that occurred with just a little over two minutes remaining in Saturday’s game.

SLU’s Yuri Collins in scheduled to return as he has been nursing an ankle injury.

Vs. The Spread

Saint Louis:

  • The Billikens are 12-6 ATS in their last 18 games
  • The UNDER has been the play in SLU’s last 5 games
  • The Bills are 1-8 SU in their last 9 games vs. the Rams

VCU:

  • The UNDER has been the play in 6 of VCU’s last 8 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 8 of VCU’s last 11 games
  • The Rams are 9-2 SU in their last 11 home games

Last Time Out

Dayton rolled to an easy 76-53 win over Saint Louis as the Billikens shot 27.8 percent for the game and trailed 43-23 at halftime. Terrence Hargrove, Jr. led SLU with eight points as the Billikens failed to place anyone in double figures.

Nah’Shon Hyland led VCU with 17 points but it was not enough as the Rams fell to the George Mason Patriots, 79-76, in overtime on Saturday. The Rams led by 13 at 39-26 at the outset of the second half, but could not withstand the play of Josh Oduro who led GMU with 27 points.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Saint Louis -3.5 (-113) -175 O 133.5 (-110)
VCU +3.5 (-107) +155 U 133.5 (-110)

Advantage, Saint Louis

Saint Louis Billikens LogoAs the Billikens have had to try to reinvent their chemistry and pull the team back together, their defense and rebounding are two staples that will be the impetus with Hyland sidelines. The Bills average 39.8 rebounds per game and hoist a (+8.4) rebound margin. The Rams were pummeled on the boards against George Mason, 42-26, which is a red flag for them against the physical inside of Javonte Perkins and Hasahn French. The Billikens have averaged 17 points per game in points off rebounds in their last three games. Vince Williams (5.2 rpg) and Hasan Ward (5.1 rpg) are the Rams’ leaders on the glass as they sit a (-0.2) rebounding differential.

Key Billikens Stat:

The Rams’ matchup on Perkins will be major storyline as he averages 17.1 points per night, seventh in the Atlantic 10. He will certainly be refocused and ready to play after having a 21-game streak where he scored double figures end in the loss to Dayton. He is a clutch playmaker in the second half of games as he has been held to single digits in the first half of seven games and then came forward to finish in double digits.

X-Factor:

Yuri Collins leads the A-10 and is 12th in the nation in assists at 6.2 per game. He is a huge reason why the Billikens are eighth in the nation, per kenpom, in assists-to-field goals made.

Advantage, VCU

VCU Rams LogoThe Rams are clearly in a tough position without Hyland being available. As Vince Williams is the only other Ram averaging double figures with 10.9 points per game, the challenge is to find who can step up and score. Levin Stockard, III, (6.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg) and Adrian Baldwin, Jr., (6.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) are two candidates as Stockard only plays about 16 minutes but shoots 58.8 percent from the floor. Baldwin might look at getting VCU in transition and revving up the fast break before the Bills can get back set up a defense that has allowed it’s last five opponents to shoot 37.4 percent from the floor.

Key Rams Stat:

The second chance points is going to be a major carrier for VCU with Hyland absent. The team shoots 45.3 percent from the floor on the year which means there are less chances to clean the offensive glass which is a good thing. However, VCU only had nine and two points on the offensive glass in it’s last two games which was preceded by a season-high of 16 in the win over St. Bonaventure.

X-Factor:

The pressure that the Rams defense can yield in turning offense into defense is a must. They are second in the nation in steals percentage at 13.9 per 100 possessions (kenpom) as Baldwin has 46 and then Hyland, once again asserting his overall presence, has 41.

Winner: Saint Louis (-3.5) 66, VCU 59

The Bets
Saint Louis Billikens -3.5
-113
Saint Louis Billikens
-175
UNDER 133.5
-110
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.