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No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 10 VCU preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Oregon Ducks and VCU Rams meet at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Is Oregon primed to make an elite eight run?

Update March 19: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 7 Oregon vs. No. 10 VCU as of March 19th at 10:30 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Oregon -5: 64% of handle, 66% of bets
VCU +5: 36% of handle, 34% of bets

Over 136.5: 53% of handle, 71% of bets
Under 136.5: 47% of handle, 29% of bets

Update March 18: Here are the updated bet splits for Oregon vs. VCU as of March 18th at 11:00 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Oregon -5.5: 63% of handle, 66% of bets
VCU +5.5: 37% of handle, 34% of bets
Over 137.5: 59% of handle, 73% of bets
Under 137.5: 41% of handle, 27% of bets

The VCU Rams look to make another deep postseason run as they kick off their NCAA Tournament as a slight underdog against the Oregon Ducks on Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. on TNT.

We take a look at both teams and how they matchup for one of the last games of the first round.

No. 7 Oregon: 20-6 (14-4 Pac-12): At-large

KenPom rating: 36 Overall, 16 Offense, 76 Defense
NET ranking: 33, (2-3 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Eugene Omoruyi, Chris Duarte
Key stat: Oregon had the best three-point percentage in the PAC-12, at 38%.

The Oregon Ducks were the Pac-12 conference regular season champs, but fell to rival Oregon State in the semifinals of the league tournament. Dana Altman’s crew appears to be playing good basketball at the right time however, and could be a candidate for a deep run. This season the Ducks average 74.1 points per game and only concede 66.9 points per game.

Oregon has five players who are averaging at least 10 points per game. Duarte, a senior guard, and Omoruyi are tied for the team lead in scoring with 16.3 points per game. Duarte is shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range. Another player to keep an eye on is LJ Figueroa. The former St. John’s standout is third on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game and he’s also averaging 6.8 rebounds per game.

No. 10 VCU: 19-7 (10-4 A-10): At-large

KenPom rating: 45 Overall, 117 Offense, 12 Defense
NET ranking: 37 (2-5 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Nah’Shon Hyland
Key stat: As a team, VCU is shooting nearly 80% from the free throw line.

While there has been a lot to be desired on the offensive end from Mike Rhoades’ ball club, VCU’s bread and butter has been on the defensive side of the ball. KenPom has the Rams as the ninth-best defensive unit in adjusted efficiency along with them ranking second in steal percentage, fourth in block percentage, eighth in turnover percentage, and 20th in effective field goal percentage.

Everything of course starts with Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, who took home the A-10 Player of the Year award by averaging 19.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a sophomore. Assisting him on the defensive end is Hason Ward, who made the A-10 All-Defensive team by averaging 3.6 defensive rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Junior guard Vince Williams also proved to be a valuable asset for the Rams’ success with 10.6 points and 5.1 boards a game.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Oregon -5.5
Total: 137
Moneyline: Oregon -240, VCU +195

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: VCU +5.5
Point total pick: Under
Pick to Win: VCU

The VCU offense has been rough to watch all season, but their defense is one of the best in the nation. They should be able to contain at least one of the Duarte or Omoruyi duo, and that could be enough to come away with an upset win.