Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs. Illinois State Redbirds Pick-Odds-Prediction - 11/8/13
Illinois State Redbirds (18-15) at Virginia Commonwealth Rams (27-9)
College Basketball: Friday, November 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Siegel Center)
The Line: Virginia Commonwealth Rams -20 -- Over/Under: 155 See the Latest Odds
The Illinois State Redbirds and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams tangle in the season opener for both squads.
Illinois State was the most prolific offense in the Missouri Valley a year ago but there is not a high degree of probability that will be the case this season. Why do I say that? It might have something to do with the graduations of Tyler Brown and Jackie Carmichael who combined for over 35 points and I don't see 35 points just appearing some where on the roster. Most of the team either graduated or transferred so the Redbirds have almost an entire roster of new faces. Throw in new head coach Dan Muller and the team is almost unrecognizable except for the Illinois State on their uniforms. JUCO transfers Bobby Hunter and Daishon Knight have ability to to score and give ISU a solid backcourt while forward Jon Jones is penciled in as a starter after red shirting a year go and will be asked to contribute immediately.
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Virginia Commonwealth looks like the king at the top of the Atlantic Ten with loads of talent and depth. The Rams also have one of the best coaches in the game in Shaka Smart and as a Delaware fan I can't say I wasn't crushed when this team left the CAA. In my view Virginia Commonwealth can compete in any conference and that is a fact and a big reason the team left the less glamorous Colonial for greener pastures and more exposure. Troy Daniels and Darius Theus are the obvious missing pieces but Smart uses all of his players so there is plenty of talent to fill voids. The most well known returning starters are Juvonte Reddic, Treveon Graham and Rob Brandenberg who combined for 40 points. However, defense is what drives this team and the Rams will be tough to score on with fresh legs coming off the bench in numbers.
To be perfectly honest I have no clue as to what we'll see from Illinois State and for that reason alone it has me looking at laying the chalk. I don't know if I can play it because I simply only know what to expect from one team...