Image for Andre Viljoen Andre Viljoen - October 14, 2022

UCF Knights vs VCU Rams: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC, USA.

When: Friday, March 22nd at 9:40pm EST.

How (TV/Radio): CBS; March Madness Live Stream on ncaa.com

UCF Knights

Head Coach: Johnny Dawkins{23-8, .742 W-L% | Conference: 13-5, T-3rd in AAC}

After a 14-year hiatus, the Knights are back in the NCAA Tournament. The last time UCF made the field in 2005, they were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference under former coach, Kirk Speraw.

The Knights enjoyed their best season in the American Athletic Conference since the formation of the league in 2014. Johnny Dawkins’ squad put together a solid resume, collecting wins against tournament teams in Houston, Cincinnati, and Temple. UCF has also been one of the better defensive teams in the country, limiting opponents to 39% shooting, thanks in large part to 7-6 center, Tacko Fall.

UCF’s breakout season has been fuelled on offense by senior guard B.J. Taylor, who has put together one of the best careers in school history. Taylor has been supported by the coach’s son, Aubrey Dawkins, who doubled his scoring production from his days at Michigan.

VCU Rams

Head Coach: Mike Rhoades{Overall: 25-7, .781 W-L% | Conference: 16-2, 1st in Atlantic 10}

Unlike the Knights, the VCU Rams have been near mainstays in the tournament, as they failed to make it just twice this decade. This is the first appearance under coach Mike Rhoades, who will have his work cut out for him to match the lofty feats of former coach Shaka Smart, who led the Rams to the Final Four in 2011.

The Rams have been a nuisance on the defensive end, where they rank tenth in the nation in points allowed per game. In addition, opponents are struggling to shoot effectively against VCU, as the Rams limited them to 38% shooting from the field, and 27.6% from three-point range.

On the other end of the floor, VCU has been running a relatively balanced attack, with four players averaging double figures in scoring. Leading that group has been Rice transfer Marcus Evans who ranks third in the conference in steals and fourth in defensive win shares.

UCF Roster Notes

There are no injuries or roster changes to report for UCF.

VCU Roster Notes

Junior guard Marcus Evans has been upgraded to probable as he recovers from a bone bruise in his left knee, suffered during the A-10 Tournament.

Head-to-Head: Tacko Fall vs Marcus Santos-SIlva

Tacko Fall

Center | 7-6, 310lb (229cm, 140kg) | Liberty Christian Prep (FL) | Dakar, Senegal | Senior

10.9 PPG | 0.5 APG | 7.3 RPG | 0.3 SPG | 2.5 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .754 FG% | .000 3P%

Marcus Santos-Silva

Power Forward | 6-7, 250lb (201cm, 113kg) | Vermont Academy | Taunton, MA | Sophomore

10.1 PPG | 0.8 APG | 7.4 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 1.1 BPG | 1.1 TOV | .597 FG% | .000 3P%

The matchup to look out for in this game will take place in the post in a David versus Goliath type of showdown. In an era where seven footers are camping out behind the three-point line, old school basketball fans will be treated to two bigs who dominate the paint.

Since the moment he stepped on campus in Orlando, Tacko Fall and his towering frame became the main reason UCF became relevant in college basketball media circles. Fast forward to now and Fall can proudly end his college career with an NCAA tournament berth. One of the best rim protectors in recent NCAA history, the Senegalese giant has had ten games with 4 or more blocked shots this season.

Marcus Santos-Silva will have his hands full down low, as he will be disadvantaged by nearly a foot in height. His relatively short build for a post player has not hindered him, as he has managed to bully opponents for high percentage looks on offense. The New England native is coming off his best game of the year against Rhode Island on March 15th, when he scored 26 points and grabbed 22 points in a losing effort in the A-10 Tournament.

UCF vs VCU Predictions and Odds

Since this is an 8-9 match-up, it should come as no surprise that this game should come down to the wire. Some sportsbooks have accordingly made this a pick’em game with an even spread, while books such as Bodog and 5Dimes are favoring the Knights by a single point. With the game being a defensive battle, the over/under is currently at 126.5.

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AUTHOR

Andre Viljoen

150 Articles

Andre has been writing for WSN since February 2019, covering college basketball and college football. A graduate of Florida State and UNC-Chapel Hill, he lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing sports and Magic: The Gathering.

Email: [email protected]

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