George Mason hosts VCU

Most off shore sports books featured on the SportsOptions odds product have VCU listed as one-point road favorites against George Mason, with the total at 130½.

Virginia Commonwealth (22-5 SU/14-11-1 ATS) is coming off a 68-64 win at Old Dominion on Saturday as a pick’ em. Bradford Burgess scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Rams over the Old Dominion Monarchs in a crucial Colonial Athletic Association battle. Darius Theus added 14 points for VCU, which has won 11 straight games since a 64-58 loss at Drexel on January 8.

The Rams trailed 36-33 at halftime after shooting just 40.7 percent from the field during the opening 20 minutes of play. VCU then held the Monarchs to a mere 22.2 percent from the floor in the second half, while making 14-of-19 free throws over the final 20 minutes to secure the four-point win. VCU shot 38 percent overall (19-of-50), but they did connect on 10-of-25 from long range (40 percent) and 20-of-27 free throws (74 percent).

In contrast, the Monarchs shot just 36.1 percent from the field (22-of-61) and made just 5-of-22 from long range (22 percent). With the win, VCU fell into a three-way tie with George Mason and Drexel for first place in the CAA, as all three teams currently sit at 13-2 in conference action.

Burgess leads VCU in scoring this season with 13.7 PPG, while Juvonte Reddic is the other Ram in double figures with 10.5 PPG. VCU has plenty of balance as Troy Daniels contributes 9.7 PPG, while Theus adds 8.6 PPG and Rob Brandenberg provides 8.1 PPG. Outscoring their opponents by more than nine points per game on average, the Rams also win the turnover battle by 5.7 per outing.

George Mason (21-6 SU/9-15 ATS) is off a 75-69 win at NC-Wilmington on Saturday, but the Patriots barely missed out on the cover as -6½ point road chalks. Sherrod Wright scored 16 points to pace GMU in the win. Ryan Pearson added 15 points and Vertrail Vaughns and Bryon Allen each chipped in 10 points for George Mason, which has won three straight and nine of its last 10.

George Mason took a 37-32 at the break after shooting 46.7 percent, while limiting UNC-Wilmington to 39.4 percent. The Patriots led by as many as 13 second half and held off a run by UNCW by hitting 5-of-7 free throws in the final minute to seal the deal. George Mason’s bench outscored UNCW’s bench 29-14, helping them overcome a 36-32 deficit on the boards.

GMU shot well in the game, going 29-of-56 overall (51.8 percent) and 7-of-14 from long range, while also connecting on 10-of-13 free throws.

Pearson is the only double-digit scorer for the Patriots with 17.6 PPG and he also leads the team on the glass with 8.5 boards per outing. Mike Morrison and Wright each add 9.4 PPG, and Vaughns and Allen contribute 8.8 PPG and 7.7 PPG respectively.

VCU and GMU split two meetings last year. George Mason won 71-51 at VCU last February 15 as +1½ point dogs and VCU posted a 79-63 win in the semifinals of the CAA Conference Tournament prior to its magical run in last year’s NCAA Tournament when the Rams made it to the Final Four.

GMU is 6-15 ATS against winning teams and 1-4 ATS at home lately, while VCU is 6-2 ATS against winning teams (above 60 percent) and 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.

This is the first of two meetings between VCU and GMU in the next 11 days, and the outcome of the two games could very well determine the regular season conference champion.

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