St.Louis at Virginia Tech
|Date & Time||Friday March 22, 2019, 9:57 PM (EDT)|
SAP Center at San Jose
San Jose, CA
Virginia Tech Hokies -10.5 -- Over/Under: 126
The 13-seed Saint Louis Billikens and 4-seed Virginia Tech Hokies will square off at the SAP Center at San Jose this Friday night in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 13-seed Saint Louis Billikens came into this season with high expectations after a few rebuilding years and Billikens didn’t disappoint as they finished their regular season with an 23-12 (10-8 A-10) record and earned their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014. Saint Louis had a solid start to their season with wins against Seton Hall, Butler, & Oregon State and were led by their defense this season that currently ranks 22nd in scoring defense & 43rd in defensive FG%. Saint Louis came into the A-10 as the 6-seed, however, won 4 games in 4 days and was able to get the automatic-bid to the NCAA Tournament after defeating the St. Bonaventure Bonnies by a 55-53 margin in the Finals.
On the season, Saint Louis is averaging 67.1 ppg on 41.8% shooting from the field. The Billikens are averaging 5.7 three-pointers per game on 30.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Saint Louis has been led by Javon Bess (15.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.4 spg), Tramaine Isabell Jr. (13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.2 spg), Jordan Goodwin (10.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 spg), and Hasahn French (9.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 spg).
Defensively, Saint Louis is holding their opponents to an average of 63.7 ppg on 40.9% shooting from the field. The Billikens have a rebound margin of 6.5 and a turnover margin of 0.3.
The 4-seed Virginia Tech Hokies had an outstanding season as they finished the regular season with an overall record of 24-8 (12-6 ACC) and reached their 3rd consecutive NCAA Tournament after receiving an at-large bid. Virginia Tech had a great start to their season as they raced out to a 14-1 record which included a nice non-conference win against Purdue and was solid in ACC play, especially as they were without one of their best players in Justin Robinson since late January. Virginia Tech came into the ACC Tournament as the 5-seed and although they picked up an easy 2nd round win agianst Miami, the Hokies couldn’t advance any further as they lost by a 65-63 margin in OT agianst Florida State in the Quarterfinals.
On the season, Virginia Tech is averaging 74.0 ppg on 47.5% shooting from the field. The Hokies are averaging 9.6 three-pointers per game on 39.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Virginia Tech has been led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker (16.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.9 spg), Kerry Blackshear Jr. (14.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.3 apg), Justin Robinson (13.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.6 spg), and Ahmed Hill (13.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg).
Defensively, Virginia Tech is holding their opponents to an average of 62.1 ppg on 40.6% shooting from the field. The Hokies have a rebound margin of 2.7 and a turnover margin of 2.7.
The Billikens are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Hokies are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 Friday games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
Travis Ford has done a great job rebuilding the Saint Louis program, however, even with their solid defense, it’s going to be hard to Billikens to find a way to put up points against a Virginia Tech that has the talent to make a final-four run. Virginia Tech is going to get Justin Robinson back just in time for the NCAA Tournament and as I think their three-point shooting will be able to find some success agianst the Billikens, I think Virginia Tech runs away with this one in the 2nd half and covers this double-digit spread.