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Atlantic 10 action here as the Dayton Flyers host the VCU Rams. Dayton has been one of the most pleasant surprises in all of college basketball, and they enter this one at 14-2 and ranked 13th in the latest AP poll. Oddsmakers have the Flyers as a sizable home favorite for this one, which will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network.
VCU Back To Their Glory Days?VCU has certainly fallen off from the high of their Final Four run under Shaka Smart, but they've shown signs of a comeback the past couple of years. After missing the NCAA tournament and only going 18-15 two seasons ago, they bounced back and made it to the big dance as an 8-seed last year. So far this season they've been solid if not spectacular, entering this one with a 12-4 record. That being said, there are still some reasons for concern. Outside of a narrow two-point win against an LSU team that isn't as good as people expected, they don't have any impressive wins. Outside of that game, they don't have a single win against any other team ranked inside the top 100 by advanced analytics site kenpom.com.
In their only real test in conference play, they lost to Rhode Island at home by nine points in their most recent game. Even when they play against lesser teams, they haven't always been able to win by big margins. Not surprisingly, they are just 2-9 against the spread in their last 11 games. Offense has been a problem for them, as they rank just 112th in overall offensive efficiency despite not playing a very tough schedule. They do have a lot of experience on the team which I like, but they haven't always played like it. They aren't the most disciplined team out there, and they are connecting on only 42.6% of their field goal attempts this year.
Obi Toppin Coming OutWhat a season it has been for the Dayton Flyers. They were decent last year and made the NIT, so there was some optimism heading into this campaign. That being said, nobody saw this coming. They've gotten off to an incredibly hot start, entering this one at 14-2 while being ranked 13th in the latest AP poll. Their only two losses this season have both come in over time and they both came to ranked teams, so you can't hold them against them. They are also still undefeated at home this year. They haven't just been winning games they've been winning them by blowout margins, as all but one of their 14 victories have been by double digits.
OBI TOPPIN HAD HIS BACK TO THE RIM AND STARED DOWN KU’S BENCH BEFORE THE BALL WENT IN. pic.twitter.com/DJ4yLu8PDb— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) November 27, 2019
The biggest reason for their sudden emergence has been the development of sophomore forward Obi Toppin. He impressed as a freshman last year and has taken a huge step forward in his second year. He enters this one averaging 19.3 points per game to go along with 7.4 rebounds while shooting 63.3% from the floor and has the potential to be an early NBA draft pick. The offense has been incredible, as they ranked 3rd in overall offensive efficiency. They have a bunch of different guys who can shoot it from downtown, as they are connecting on an absurd 52.4% of their field goals as a team. In addition to Toppin, they also have four other guys averaging at least 10.8 points per game, so it's not like he has to do it all by himself.
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com: Flyers are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600
- 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games overall
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like Dayton a lot here. All but one of their victories this season have come by double digits, and I think they pick up another one here. VCU has been terrible against the spread recently, and they don't have the juice to hang with one of the best offenses in all of college basketball. The Flyers have been ridiculously efficient on offense, regularly embarrassing whoever they go up against. VCU doesn't have anyone who can match up with Obi Toppin, and I don't think they are going to be competitive here. VCU only has one impressive win the entire season, and they have failed all of her other tests. They just lost by 9 at home against a mediocre Rhode Island team, which doesn't bode well.
Full-Game Total Pick
I think the under also makes a lot of sense in this spot. Yes Dayton has had an incredible offense so far, but I think that is being more than accounted for in this number. VCU knows that they can't hang offensively, and that their only hope to stay in this game is to slow it down and limit the number of possessions. VCU's strength is their defense, and the under is a perfect 4-0 in their last four games. The Flyers are no slouch on defense either, and that unit gets even better at home. The under is 4-1 in their last five home games.