2020 VCU Rams NCAA Basketball National Championship Odds with Predictions
There are some teams that bring back a fair bit of experience. There are teams that bring back most of their experience. Then there are teams like VCU, which are basically just the same team as last year with a little more experience. They had nine guys in the rotation last year play 14 or more minutes per game. Eight of them are back. They averaged 71 points per game last year, and a little more later in the year, and lose only eight points per game from that roster. They were a solid team last year, going 16-2 in the A-10 and going to the NCAA Tournament. There is no reason that they can't at least replicate that again this year. Given that they are so experienced, and that they add a few solid pieces as well, anything less would be a real disappointment.
VCU Rams Additions/Losses
The team brings back almost everything that was important to them last year. They have just one departure that moves the needle even a little - and it's hardly a crushing blow. Forward Sean Mobley started 23 games as a sophomore last year and has since transferred closer to home to UCF - the team that knocked VCU out of the tournament last year. He averaged less than 20 minutes, averaging 4.2 points and 2.5 rebounds, so he doesn't leave behind a gaping hole the team will struggle to fill. Beyond that, the only losses were graduated seniors Michael Gilmore and Xavier Jackson, and freshman P.J. Byrd. Gilmore and Byrd appeared in every game but were hardly noticed, and Jackson struggled to get into the lineup.
As a result of the stability, this is going to be a veteran lineup. Junior forward Marcus Santos-Silva and Corey Douglas are a dynamic pair up front who we could hear a lot about if they break out in the way both seem capable of. Santos-Silva already started every game last year, averaging 10 points and 7.4 boards, so it's not like he is coming from nowhere. But the buzz around the program is that there is another big step for him to take. The team's opener was against a badly outclassed St. Francis, but Santos-Silva piled up 21 and 18 on 8 of 11 shooting in just 30 minutes to prove that there might be something to the rumors. Santos-Silva could find himself frequently used as the only true forward in a guard-heavy rotation this year as well.
Senior point guard Marcus Evans drives the backcourt. He led the team in points and assists last year even as he struggled with nagging injuries. He should be ready for a big year again. Guard De'Riante Jenkins and wing Isaac Vann both started every game last year except for one absence by Jenkins, and both are back and again ready to carry a heavy load as seniors. So, the bulk of the big minutes are spoken for. But sophomore KeShawn Curry stands out as a guy who will fight for a bigger role this year. Point guard Nah'shon Hyland is the third-highest-rated recruit he school has ever had - right behind Jenkins. As the sixth-rated point guard in the country, he is surely the future of that position and will be given all the chances they can find for him this year so he is ready to step in next year. The recruiting class also includes guys in forward Hason Ward, and guards Jarren McAllister and Tre Clark who have long-term upside and fit the system well but won't be rushed into things because there is no need. To see at least one redshirt would be a long way from shocking.
VCU Rams Schedule
The nonconference schedule has some potential challenges. Their third game is against a ranked LSU team. In the Emerald Coast Classic, they play Purdue, and then could face Florida State or Tennessee. And they play at a Wichita State team that is a long way from their best this year but is still always dangerous. There are lots of chances to prove themselves before they head into conference play - or falter.
VCU Rams Futures Odds and Trends
VCU is at +10000 to win the national title. That puts them in the realm of long shots, but not up in the clouds with the teams that have no chance at all. I mean, VCU doesn't have any real chance of cutting down the nets, but more of a chance than many teams have.
The Rams had the best record in the Atlantic 10 at 25-8. They also had a conference best ATS mark of 20-12-1. They went over the total 14 times and under 18.
VCU Rams Predictions
It's hard not to like a team like VCU. Despite having the hurdles of mid-major life to overcome, they have made the tournament eight times in nine years and are never a team that opponents get excited to play. They are going to be more of the same this year and could really do some damage with this veteran lineup if they stay healthy and on track. I like them to win the A-10, and will be looking hard at them on the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament as I always do.
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