Must-Bet Friday NCAA Games Richmond vs VCU, Ohio vs Kent State

Must-Bet Friday NCAA Games: Richmond vs VCU, Ohio vs Kent State

No ranked teams in action around college basketball on Friday, but there are important matchups from both the Atlantic 10 and Mid-American Conference. Here’s a look at each game and check back for NCAAB odds.

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Richmond at VCU, Friday

Tips at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Both these programs would be NCAA bubble teams. VCU (17-7) is second in the A-10 at 10-3, while Richmond (17-9) is sixth at 8-5. When they played on Jan., 29 at Richmond, VCU won 64-62. Vince Williams Jr. had a career-high 22 points plus 10 rebounds for the Rams. Williams snapped a 61-all tie with a 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining. Tyler Burton, who led the Spiders in scoring heading into the matchup, scored five points on 1-of-12 shooting.

VCU enters this one on a four-game winning streak after a 66-61 escape at Fordham on Tuesday. Senior guard KeShawn Curry scored a game-high 21 points and provided several clutch plays down the stretch. Curry continued his recent hot stretch by connecting on 7-of-11 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. He added a pair of steals. Curry has topped 20 points two times in the past three games. His career-high prior to his recent outburst was 14 points.

VCU is allowing 60.7 points per game, and opponents are shooting .389. The Rams’ defense ranks eighth nationally in effective field goal percentage (.436), second in turnover percentage (26.0) and fourth in defensive efficiency (87.5). VCU is also sixth in the country in 3-point defense (.277).

Richmond beat La Salle 77-63 last Saturday. Burton and Grant Golden each scored 15 points to lead the Spiders, with Burton adding a game-high 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. The Spiders are 7-2 in their last nine games following a 1-3 start to A-10 play.

Burton leads Richmond in both points per game (16.8) and rebounds per game (7.3) this season. He is the only player in the A-10 to rank in the top six in the league in both scoring (fifth) and rebounding (sixth). Richmond’s Jacob Gilyard leads D-I in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.78) and steals per game (3.2) this season. He has led D-I in steals in each of the previous two seasons.

Ohio at Kent State, Friday

Tips at 7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. Ohio (22-4) leads the MAC with a 13-2 league record, while Kent State (16-9) is third at 11-4. On Jan. 7, Ohio beat Kent State 80-72. The Golden Flashes trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half but never quit. Trailing 13 with 6:57 to play, the Flashes used an 11-0 run to pull within two, 63-61, with 4:00 to play.

After an Ohio bucket, Malique Jacobs drilled two free throws. A Ben Roderick three followed by a Jason Carter deuce edged the Bobcats up seven with two minutes to play and that was that. Mark Sears scored 28 points and Ben Vander Plas added 20 for the Bobcats. Sincere Carry tied a season high with 26 points for the Golden Flashes.

Ohio won its third straight game Tuesday, 91-78 over Miami of Ohio. Vander Plas had a career-high 30 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out six assists and had three steals. Sears added 23 points and 11 rebounds. Ohio played without forward Jason Carter (14.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg). He’s questionable for this one.

“When you missing a guy like Jason, everybody’s got to step their game up a little bit,” Vander Plas said.

Kent State won at Toledo on Tuesday, 72-59, to end the Rockets’ 13-game home winning streak. The Golden Flashes stifled the Rockets all night, holding Toledo to a season-low 59 points. Toledo has been held under 75 points in Mid-American Conference play just twice this year, both times by the Flashes’ defense. Kent State has won seven games in a row for the first time since Rob Senderoff’s first season.

The bench was the story of the night, outscoring the Rockets 52-1. Carry led the way for the Flashes’ bench with a game-high 23 points. Malique Jacobs added 14 points and six rebounds off the bench as well.

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