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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 6:00 AM

For most of the season, it was a given that Virginia Commonwealth was the best team in the Atlantic 10 conference. That’s all anyone talked about, to the degree it was talked about. The computers gave them respect. Nobody else seemed ready to step up and make a claim for being nationally relevant. It didn’t help that the A10 wasn’t on TV much. Nobody saw what was happening!

What was happening was that Virginia Commonwealth didn’t turn out to be the best team in the Atlantic 10. Stunningly, they couldn’t even manage a top four seed in the conference tournament despite having decent computer ratings. It was Davidson, not relevant since the Steph Curry days, who stepped up to claim the regular season crown.

Saturday, VCU runs into Davidson in the A10 semifinals…after both had to sweat dramatic finishes in Friday’s quarterfinals. When they played in the regular season…

January 7: VCU (-10) beat Davidson 71-65

March 5: Davidson (-2.5) beat VCU 82-65!

Wow…Davidson covered both games…even two months ago when VCU was much more feared. The most recent meeting was a slaughter! You can see that the market had much more respect for VCU. But, it was Davidson who wasn’t intimidated by VCU’s pressing defense in the first meeting…before utterly humiliating it in the rematch.

VCU will surely be better prepared this time. But, do the Rams have any weapons in their arsenal besides the full court press? Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats say about Round Three of this developing A10 rivalry…


Adjusted Offensive Efficiency

Va. Comm.: 106.4 per 100 possessions (#83 in the nation)

Davidson: 118.7 per 100 possessions (#7 in the nation)

Maybe VCU doesn’t have any other weapons! The offense can’t even crack the top 80 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency numbers on this side of the floor. And, that’s counting the easy buckets they get off turnovers. Out of a halfcourt set…the Rams have been a tremendous disappointment. Davidson has been very efficient. And, you’ll see in a moment that they do that at a fast pace. This isn’t a Wisconsin/Virginia type team that works the ball around slowly. Davidson attacks and scores. That’s why they obliterated the VCU press at home. Big edge to Davidson in this category.


Adjusted Defensive Efficiency

Va. Comm.: 93.3 per 100 possessions (#22 in the nation)

Davidson: 101.6 per 100 possessions (#155 in the nation)

This is where things get dicey for Davidson. The defense is truly awful. It’s a huge strike against the Atlantic 10 that a team with this bad a defense could win the regular season crown! Even if they match up well with VCU’s press…they’re going to struggle in the Dance against most offenses they face. VCU wins this side of the floor in the numbers. In reality, the press that allows them to embarrass other teams may not work in a third look against a team that had mastered it by its second look! Let’s give a nod to VCU…but not as big a nod as this category would suggest.


Pace Ranking

Va. Comm.: #74

Davidson: #65

Both teams like to push tempo. That could suggest an Over in a high intensity neutral court game…particularly with that exciting backdrop in Brooklyn. VCU takes another hit here because they can’t take Davidson out of its comfort zone. What VCU does plays right into Davidson’s comfort zone.


Against the Spread

VCU: 12-20

Davidson: 22-5

Check that out! Davidson was the best pointspread team in the nation this season because the market just refused to take them seriously. That looked justified Friday in the quarterfinals against LaSalle. But, Davidson did rally to advance despite that non-cover. Otherwise, they’ve been the best money team in the land. VCU has been a major disappointment however you slice it. If this had been an ESPN league, perhaps oddsmakers and sharps would have adjusted sooner.

Who will offer value in this matchup Saturday afternoon? VCU/Davidson just might show up on the NETWORK program. But, there’s a MONSTER slate of amazing matchups! Here’s what’s on tap for handicappers to attack.


Day Session

CUSA Championship

Major Semifinals in the Big 10 and the SEC

Mid-Major Semifinals in the Atlantic 10, American Athletic, and Sun Belt Conferences


Night Session

Major Championships in the ACC, Big 12, Big East, and Pac 12 Conferences

Mid-Major Championships in the Mountain West, MAC, and Big West Conferences

It’s annually one of the most exciting days in all of college basketball. And, JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK is ready with BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

You can purchase BEST BETS every day right through MARCH MADNESS here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 before the first games tip off Saturday. This isn’t a day you want to take off!

Back with you Sunday to preview the best of the championship matchups from the Big 10, SEC, Atlantic 10, or American Athletic Conference depending on who survives Saturday’s semi’s. Monday we’ll review the most important championship games of the weekend from a statistical perspective. Then…as the Dance arrives…TV previews day by day from the play-in games, the Cinderella stories, and all the first week thrills.



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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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