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NCAA Midwest: Saint Mary’s vs VCU Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks

Saint Mary’s Hopes to Avoid Early Upset

VCU Tries to Use Momentum Advantage

The 12 seed defeating a five is one of the more common upsets in the first round, and Saint Mary’s will be hoping to avoid the same fate when it battles VCU on Friday in the NCAA Tournament.

Saint Mary’s has won 17 of its past 20. However, the Gaels have faltered recently, falling in two of their final three, including to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference title game.

NCAA Midwest: Saint Mary’s vs VCU Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks
NCAA Midwest: Saint Mary’s vs VCU Prediction, Game Preview, Live Stream, Odds and Picks

VCU is on a run of its own, winning nine straight. Three of those came in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, which the Rams won with a win over Dayton.

Friday’s matchup will be largely defensive as both Saint Mary’s and VCU are in the top 20 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating. The Gaels are ranked ninth while the Rams come in at 17.

According to college basketball lines, Saint Mary’s is a four-point favorite in the matchup.

Saint Mary’s Seeks Bounce Back

The Gaels ended the West Coast Conference Tournament on a sour note, falling to Gonzaga 77-51.

The loss was Saint Mary’s second in three games to the Bulldogs, and it’s usually stout defense gave up 77 points in both setbacks.

Saint Mary’s defense is fifth in the nation, allowing 60.1 points a game, while its field-goal percentage is first in the West Coast Conference, allowing opponents to 41.5%.

Although Gonzaga cracked the formula of the Gaels’ defense, shooting 55.9% between the two wins, Saint Mary’s defense held up in its three wins over the past five games. Opponents averaged 62 points on 41.5% shooting against them during that span.

The Gaels will need to play that winning defense in the tournament in order to succeed and advance.

According to NCAA basketball odds, Saint Mary’s has +6000 odds to win March Madness.

VCU Rides Winning Wave

Defense is also the name of the game for the Rams, and it is how they won the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

VCU is second in the conference in scoring and third in field-goal percentage allowed, holding opponents to 62.9 points on 41.5% shooting.

The Rams’ defense showed up in their conference tournament, as teams struggled to score against them, averaging 62.3 points on 39.4% shooting through three games.

VCU’s defense was especially key in the championship game as it helped the Rams come back from a 10-point deficit early in the second half. The Rams held Dayton to six points and no field goals over the final 10 minutes to help secure the win.

The Rams’ strong defense is going to be crucial once again as they try to pull off an upset over Saint Mary’s.

Saint Mary’s vs VCU Game Injuries

Saint Mary’s vs VCU Head-to-Head

Friday’s meeting will be the second between Saint Mary’s and VCU. The seventh-seeded Gaels defeated the 10th-seeded Rams 85-77 in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

According to college basketball odds, Saint Mary’s is +1000 to make the Final Four while the sportsbook gives VCU a +9500 chance to do so.

Saint Mary’s vs VCU Game Information

  • Game: Saint Mary’s (26-7) vs VCU (27-7)
  • Location: MVP Arena, Albany, N.Y.
  • Day/Time: Friday, March 17th, 2 p.m. ET
  • Saint Mary’s vs VCU Live Stream: TBS.com

Saint Mary’s vs VCU Betting Lines

Saint Mary’s vs VCU Picks and Prediction

This game will feature defense as both teams bring the heat.

VCU is riding the momentum of winning the Atlantic 10 regular-season title and conference tournament. Saint Mary’s, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss in the West Coast Tournament championship. Though the game will be about defense, it has to have a bit of offense as well, where both teams play slowly but shoot the ball well. The game will be close, but Saint Mary’s should do enough to get the win and avoid the dreaded 12 vs. 5 upset.

Saint Mary’s is listed at -190 in our Vegas lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Gaels, you have a chance to win $53. VCU is +163, offering a chance to win $163 on a $100 wager.

The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Saint Mary’s a 65.52% chance to win, with the Rams at 38.02%.

March Madness 2023 First Round
March Madness 2023 First Round

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