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The Saint Louis Billikens and the Virginia Tech Hokies will meet at the SAP Center at San Jose this Friday as both teams will be looking for another victory. Saint Louis enters this game with a 23-12 record while Virginia Tech enters this game with a 24-8 record this season. Now, both teams will be looking to improve on their respective records in this one.
Saint Louis Looks For Fifth Straight Win
This season, Saint Louis has taken a massive step forward for the program as the team is currently 23-12 and made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014. The team is also entering this contest in great form as it has won each of its last four games including a comeback win against St. Bonaventure in its last game. In that game, Saint Louis’ defense was amazing as it only allowed 53 points on less than 34% shooting from the floor. However, with a much opponent up next, look for Saint Louis to struggle a bit more on the defensive end.
— SLU Men's Basketball (@SaintLouisMBB) March 18, 2019
The Saint Louis Billikens are led by senior guard Javon Bess who has been a key contributor for the program during his college career. Last season, Bess was extremely solid as he averaged the most points on the team with 13.3 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds. However, Bess has been even better this season as he is currently leading the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game along with 6.7 rebounds.
Coach Ford believes that the team’s tenacity was the reason for the team’s conference tournament run.
— Saint Louis University (@SLU_Official) March 22, 2019
“Perseverance was pretty good because seemed like we were coming from behind the whole time. But, you know, we just — we won with defense, but our offense complemented or defense, and that hasn’t been the case a lot of times this season. We’ve had our struggles on the offensive end at times. Our defense for the most part has been pretty good. But I thought we did a great job of changing up defenses a lot. I thought that helped keep us fresh and also keep our opponents off balance a little bit,” Ford said.
Virginia Tech Gets Healthier At The Right Time
This season, Virginia Tech seems to be headed towards an even better season than it did last year as the team has won 24 of its first 32 games. The team’s regular season success was rewarded as the team enters this tournament with a four-seed. However, Virginia Tech somehow managed to get better since its last game as star point guard Justin Robinson is officially ready to return after missing 12 games due to a foot injury. With him in the lineup, Virginia Tech was 17-3 this season. With him back in the lineup, Virginia Tech could go on a serious tournament run.
Virginia Tech is led by sophomore guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker who has been amazing this season. This season, he is currently leading the team in scoring with 16.6 points per game on over 38% shooting from the three-point line. However, with Robinson back, he should have a lot less pressure moving forward as the team now has another double digit scorer on the active roster. As a result, Alexander-Walker should have more room to dominate as team’s will be unable to give him extra attention moving forward.
Coach Williams stated that he does not know how many minutes he will give point guard Justin Robinson in his first game back from injury.
“He is a good player. He does know how to pass, dribble and shoot. And I think his experience will help us, but how many minutes, I don’t want to try to predetermine that because I don’t think that that’s — I don’t think that that’s right by anybody,” Williams said.
- Under is 3-0-1 in Hokies last 4 non-conference games.
- Under is 9-4 in Hokies last 13 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 4-0 in Billikens last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 4-1 in Billikens last 5 overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Although this spread is pretty high, Virginia Tech is the better all-around team and I think that the team will come into this one motivated following such a close loss to Florida State. Virginia Tech is extremely crafty and fundamentally sound so I think the team will come ready to play in this neutral site game. This game will be close for a bit but I think Virginia Tech is just in another class. Give me the favorite in this one as a result.
Prediction: Virginia Tech -10.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Although Virginia Tech has the ability to score a lot of points, I think that these teams have elite defenses. Both teams are giving up less than 64 points per game this season as they each possess top-20 defenses in all of college basketball. As a result, I expect points to come at a premium in this one. The trends also all support the under so I recommend the under in this matchup.
Prediction: Under 126