#12 VCU Rams vs. #4 Indiana Hoosiers-6.5
NCAA fans, hard-core and casual alike, be warned: Bet against the VCU Rams at your own peril.
Stop me if this story sounds familiar; the #12 seeded Rams win an exciting 5/12 opening round games, despite being a pretty consistent underdog in most “experts” brackets. Then they advance to take on a solid power-conference foe who is expected to put an abrupt end to the cute little upstart story.
The last time we started this tale it ended in the National Semifinal with an improbably berth in the Final Four. Will it go as far this time? Can VCU Shaka the World yet again? Unlikely, but I’m sure as heck not going to be the one to bet my money against it. Vegas it seems does not share my reluctance. Indiana is a six and a half point favorite, a huge spread by neutral count NCAA Tourney standards. Consider this; Syracuse, the number one seed, was only a five point favorite against Kansas State. Louisville, a similar power conference versus less-tested mid major New Mexico (yes, the Mountain West is the sixth best conference in the county, but look at New Mexico’s overall schedule. It isn’t terribly different from VCU’s) is only laying ONE. Louisville just ripped through the Big East tournament as the champs. Indiana lost in the second round of the Big Ten tourney, went 5-5 in their last ten games against NCAA tournament teams this season and lost one of their key starters to a torn ACL last week.
So, a six and a half point favorite? It seems a bit much to me. VCU has won 17 of their last 18, the only loss being a buzzer-beating loss at George Mason last month. They are also obviously completely unfazed by the bright lights of March. It seems counter-intuitive, but it is the Rams who have the big-time experience and comfort level on a large stage. For every single Indiana Hoosier, this is a completely new experience as the Hoosiers make their first post-season appearance in five years.
Indiana might get past VCU, but I can’t see them blowing them out. If you are feeling a little adventurous, you can get a nice payout on a VCU moneyline. I’m taking a flyer on it, because I think this is an absolute coin-flip of a game. In the meantime, six and a half points is a TON to lay in the anything-can-happen world of March Madness. Just ask Duke and Missouri. Ouch…
Free Pick: VCU Rams +6.5