Two of the top mid major teams in the country are going to meet in the second round of NCAA Tournament betting action on Thursday, when the VCU Rams take on the Wichita State Shockers.
Over the course of the last two years, the Butler Bulldogs have been the mid-major sweetheart to really go on a remarkable run and make it to the National Championship Game. VCU made it to the Final Four last year before bowing out to Butler, and now, with a severely different team, Head Coach Shaka Smart and the gang are going to try to do damage once again. The only man that is back from last year’s team in the starting lineup is Bradford Burgess. He is good for 13.3 points per game, and he is one of the three that are good for double digits in scoring. Darius Theus has improved as the year has gone by taking care of the basketball, and his 161 assists are almost as many as the rest of the team has combined. He’s not the man that is going to push the tempo as Virginia Commonwealth did last year, but he can do the job as a passer and take the big shot if needed as well. Last year, the Rams caught fire with the three ball, and this year, that is going to have to be the case again. However, they shot just 33.7 percent from beyond the arc this year, and that certainly won’t cut it in this one.
The Shockers have a lot of bones that they need to settle in this one. They were beaten in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Tournament, a tournament that many thought they would run right through to get onto maybe as high as the No. 3 line in the dance. To make matters worse, they were beaten by these Rams last year by a single point at home, and that win in BracketBusters really could have made the difference between VCU getting into the dance and being left in the NIT. The Shockers average 77.7 points per game, and they have just a slew of scores. Six guys are averaging at least 8.3 points per game, including Garrett Stutz, the team’s top scorer at 13.5 points per game and the top rebounder at 8.0 boards per game. Three of the bigs are shooting at least 55 percent from the floor, and there are very few teams in the land that can say that they have the same level of efficiency that the Shockers do.
The Final Word: With apologies to VCU, we just don’t think that it is going to be able to do this year what it did in 2011. It was a great story while it lasted, but in the end, we know which one of these teams is clearly superior. Wichita State will get its revenge and make a big statement to the rest of the field that it could be well on its way to a great run here in March.
VCU Rams vs. Wichita State Shockers Free Pick: Wichita State Shockers -6
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.