VCU Rams at Rhode Island Rams – NCAAM February 3

VCU (12-4, 5-2) at Rhode Island (9-9, 6-5)

  • Time: 4PM PST | 6PM CST | 7PM EST
  • Location: Ryan Center, Kingston, RI
  • TV: ESPN+

Tip-Off

It’s the 19th battle of Rams as VCU and Rhode Island meet for the second time this season. Rhode Island took an 83-68 win over VCU on Jan. 9 as VCU were scoreless for more than six minutes in the second half. Fatts Russell lead Rhody with 23 points while Jeremy Sheppard popped in 20. Bones Hyland led all scorers with 24 points as VCU’s seven-game winning streak came to a halt.

Rhode Island leads the series 11-7 and has won nine of the last 10 matchups between the two.

Vs. The Spread

VCU:

  • The Rams are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games
  • The total has been UNDER in 5 of VCU’s last 7 games
  • VCU is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 contests vs. Rhody

Rhode Island:

  • URI is 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games
  • The Rams are 5-1 SU in the last 6 home games
  • Rhody is 4-11 ATS in it’s last 15 games vs. Atlantic 10 competition

Last Time Out

VCU defeated LaSalle, 73-62, on Saturday behind 24 points from Bones Hyland while Hasan Ward recorded the first double-double of his career with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Rhode Island dropped a 67-56 loss at Dayton on Saturday as Jeremy Sheppard had 16 points and six rebounds. Makhel Mitchell added 12 as injury-riddled Fatts Russell struggled and finally went to the bench as he has tried to play through injuries all season.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
VCU -2.5 (-110) -145 O 139.5 (-110)
Rhode Island +2.5 (-110) +125 U 139.5 (-110)

VCU Rams Stat Pack

  • Freshman Ace Baldwin averages 4.7 assists per game in his 15 games while posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.24-to-1.
  • Tre Clark is becoming a key cog for the Rams defense as he has notched 29 steals in his 16 games.
  • Bones Hyland ranks third in the A-10 in points per game (18.9) and leads the league in 3-pointers per game (3.1).

VCU Rams Grease Board

VCU Rams LogoRhode Island is the elixir for all things VCU as Virginia Commonwealth hasn’t been able to find the template for beating URI since joining the A-10. Coach Mike Rhoades has built a stealthy bench as 38.2 of the minutes have gone to players coming off the bench as the reeves have averaged 23.2 points per game. Those bench minutes are a key in VCU forcing 18.4 turnovers per game. Rhoades is still looking for cleaner ball handling as well as VCU gives the ball up at a 15.8 per game clip. Bones Hyland hasn’t really been stopped all season in averaging 18.9 points per game. An interesting fact: He has 50 made twos and 50 made threes as he is a tough cover.

Rhode Island Rams Stat Pack

  • Guard Fatts Russell is struggling with injuries, but he has been one of the top guards at attacking the basket. He leads the A-10 and is ranked 10th in the nation in made free throws with 91.
  • Since the beginning of Atlantic 10 play, Makhel Mitchell has raised his game in averaging 11.0 points per game and a team high 6.5 boards.
  • Ishmael Leggett is fourth on the team in plus/minus with a (+31) on the season as he was the only Ram who had a plus (+9) in Saturday’s loss at Dayton.

Rhode Island Rams Grease Board

Rhode Island Rams LogoDefending VCU and keeping the tempo at a slower rate will be key for Rhode Island. URI has held it’s last five opponents to 60.0 points per game as seven of 11 A-10 opponents have failed to hit the 70-point mark. With Fatts Russell ailing, Jeremy Sheppard will potentially have to pick up his output even more. Sheppard ranks fourth in the A-10 in 3-point shooting as he makes 44.9 percent and he has made 10-of-17 over the last three games. Ishmael Leggett and Jalen Carey can pick up the slack some for Russell, but they have to handle the ball more cleanly. The Rams average 15 turnovers per game which feeds into VCU’s defensive philosophy with the pressure and idea to turn the turnovers into easy baskets and VCU’s 15.8 turnovers per game could fortify URI offensively. The turnover game and the health of Russell are the key determinants in this one.

Winner: VCU (-2.5) 73, Rhode Island 68
Over-Under: Take OVER 139.5

The Bets
VCU Rams -2.5
-110
OVER 139.5
-110
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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.