The Citadel Bulldogs (10-20, 5-13 SoCon) and the VMI Keydets (9-20, 4-14 SoCon) face off in the Southern Conference Tourney at U.S. Cellular Center. Citadel is a 4-point favorite on the opening line, while the game’s Over/Under (O/U) opened at 161.5 points. Action begins at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, March 2, 2018, and it can be seen on ESPN 3.
VMI Keydets vs. Citadel Bulldogs ATS Preview
The Keydets barely escaped the Chattanooga Mocs in their last matchup, 68-65. With 12 points and nine rebounds, VMI’s Fred Iruafemi had a good performance. The Keydets forced 15 turnovers and held the Mocs to an effective field goal percentage of 0.458 (below their season average of 0.511).
In the Bulldogs’ last game, they were beaten by the Western Carolina Catamounts, 92-75. Kaiden Rice was the top scorer from either team with 28 points on 10-for-22 shooting. Western Carolina did a fantastic job of converting from the free throw line (18-24; 75.0 percent). Citadel, on the other hand, had a better offensive rebounding percentage (31.4 vs. 31.1).
It will be a matchup of opposite styles as the fast-breaking Bulldogs (ranked second in the NCAA in possessions per game) will look to push the more methodical Keydets (170th in possessions per game). Furthermore, the Keydets rank 317th in turnover percentage (21.1 percent), while the Bulldogs rank 45th in opponents’ turnover percentage (21.5 percent).
These two teams are complete opposites in terms of the O/U total. VMI games have finished under 68.2 percent of the time, while 56.5 percent of games involving Citadel have finished over. Both teams have very similar records straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS). The Keydets are 9-20 SU and 10-12 ATS, while the Bulldogs are 10-20 SU and 10-12-1 ATS.
Zane Najdawi has been superb over the last five games for Citadel, averaging 22.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.
These two teams have met twice already this year, with the Keydets winning both. In the most recent game, the Bulldogs lost 75-71, unable to cover as 8.5-point favorites. Najdawi recorded 23 points and 14 rebounds. The two teams combined for 146 points, which was 16.5 points below the projected point total of 162.5 points. The Keydets played a nearly flawless game. They had a turnover percentage of 12.1 and an effective field goal percentage of 0.443. For those same stats, the Bulldogs recorded marks of 15.4 and 0.383, respectively.
VMI Keydets vs. Citadel Bulldogs Odds Prediction
Pick: SU Winner – VMI, ATS Winner – VMI, O/U – Under
- The Bulldogs rank 84th in rebounds per game (37.1) while the Keydets rank 248th in rebounds allowed per game (38.0).
- VMI ranks 164th in blocks per game (2.8) while Citadel ranks 172nd in blocks allowed per game (4.1).
- Citadel averages 35.2 three pointers per game, which ranks second in the NCAA. VMI ranks 231st in three pointers allowed per game (23.8).
- The Bulldogs rank 20th in assists per game (16.6) while the Keydets rank 228th (11.9).
- Citadel ranks third in steals per game (9.6) while VMI ranks 184th in steals allowed per game (7.0).
- Citadel is 1-4 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, VMI is 2-3 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs.
- The Bulldogs’ average margin of defeat in their last five games has been 9.6, up from 5.8 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Keydets have scored an average of 67.4 points per game (2.4 above their season average) and allowed an average of 76.6 points per game (2.9 above their season average).