Virginia Commonwealth Rams vs. Northern Iowa Panthers - 12/13/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Northern Iowa Panthers (9-0) at Virginia Commonwealth Rams (5-3)
College Basketball: Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Siegel Center)
The Line: Virginia Commonwealth Rams -5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
The Northern Iowa Panthers and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams will battle at the Stuart C. Siegal Center this Sunday night.
The 23rd ranked Northern Iowa Panthers remained a perfect 9-0 on the season after defeating the Denver Pioneers 65-55 this past Wednesday. It was a slow-paced game against the Pioneers as although Northern Iowa was only able to get up 30 shots in the entire game, they were able to make 21 of them to shoot a remarkable 70.0% from the field. Leading the way for the Panthers was Seth Tuttle who had 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. On the season, Northern Iowa have been led by Seth Tuttle (15.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 2.6 apg), Wes Washpun (10.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg), and Paul Jesperson (6.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg). The Panthers have been getting it down defensively as currently they are holding their opponents to just 55.2 ppg (ranked 18th) on 39.0% shooting (ranked 82nd). Northern Iowa does a nice job protecting the ball as they only average 11.9 turnovers per game (ranked 73rd), however, they only grab 8.33 offensive rebounds a game which ranks 321st in the country. Offensively, the Panthers are averaging 67.4 ppg (ranked 193rd) on 47.8% shooting (ranked 52nd). Northern Iowa is ranked 23rd in the RPI standings but just 189th in terms of SOS.
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The VCU Rams dropped to 5-3 on the season after losing 74-57 to the 7th ranked Virginia Cavaliers this past Saturday. Virginia used a 15-0 run late in the second half to pull away in this one. VCU and Head Coach Shaka Smart are known for their “havoc” defensive and although they were able to force the Cavilers to commit 16 turnovers, Virginia was able to shoot an astonishing 68.3% from the field including 54.5% from three-point range. Leading the way for the Rams was Treveon Graham who had 17 points and 4 rebounds. On the season VCU have been led by Treveon Graham (17.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Melvin Johnson (16.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.3 apg), and Jordan Burgess (8.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg). Offensively, VCU is averaging 74.8 ppg (ranked 74th) on 42.7% shooting (ranked 211th). The Rams have really struggled at the free-throw line as they are only shooting 62.1% as a team which ranks 309th in the country. VCU had a top-10 defense last year, however, have really struggled if their opponents break the “havoc” pressure defensive. Defensively, the Rams are allowing 70.3 ppg (ranks 264th) and allowing their opponents to shoot 40.8% from three-point range.
The Panthers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games. The Rams are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home, however are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.
Northern Iowa has had a great start to the season and is starting to look like the best team in the MVC not named Wichita State. Although VCU is struggling a bit, this is one of the more talented teams VCU has had. I’m confident that VCU and Shaka Smart has used this week off to fix his defense and they will be ready to get back to their winnings ways in front of their home crowd. I’m going to take the Rams to cover this mid-level spread.