Friday’s Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards
**Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth**
— VCU (19-7 straight up, 15-6 ATS) won its first nine games in Atlantic-10 play before dropping back-to-back games. Since then, however, the Rams have produced a pair of home wins over Saint Louis (85-52) and Rhode Island (83-67). They took it to URI on Tuesday night as 9.5-point home favorites. Mo Alie-Cox led the way with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. Melvin Johnson added 19 points and four assists, knocking down 4-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc. Korey Billbury finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
— The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened VCU as a 9.5-point home favorite vs. Richmond late Thursday afternoon.
— VCU has won 13 of its 15 home games, posting a 7-3 spread record in the process.
— VCU is No. 52 in the RPI Rankings, producing a 2-3 record against the Top 50 and a 4-6 mark versus the Top 100. The Rams have quality wins at St. Joseph’s, at Middle Tennessee, at Davidson and vs. St. Bonaventure at home. There’s no shame in a few of their defeats like neutral-court setbacks vs. FSU (76-71), vs. Duke (79-71) and vs. Wisconsin (74-73).
— Johnson paced VCU in scoring by averaging 18.2 points per game. Johnson is shooting 41.7 percent from downtown. Billbury (11.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG) is hitting 42.1 percent of his attempts from 3-point range. JeQuan Lewis (11.2 PPG) leads the Rams in assists (125), steals (46) and 3-point shooting percentage (44.1%).
— Richmond (14-11 SU, 9-12 ATS) owns a 4-5 record both SU and ATS in nine road assignments.
— Richmond is No. 119 in the RPI, compiling a 2-5 record against the Top 50 and a 2-9 mark versus the Top 100. The Spiders have quality wins at George Washington and vs. California on a neutral floor.
— Richmond saw its three-game winning streak snapped in Tuesday’s 83-79 loss at Davidson as a one-point underdog. T.J. Cline had 25 points, five rebounds and three assists without a turnover in the losing effort. Terry Allen added 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. Nevertheless, the Spiders came up short despite the fact that Davidson star guard Jack Gibbs didn’t play due to an illness.
— Richmond has been an underdog nine times this year, going 3-6 both SU and ATS.
— Allen lead the Spiders in scoring (18.4 PPG), rebounding (8.2 RPG) and steals (1.6 SPG).
— The ‘under’ is 11-10 overall for VCU, but the ‘over’ is 6-4 in its home games.
— The ‘over’ is 13-8 overall for the Spiders, 5-4 in their road contests.
— ESPN2 will have the broadcast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Iona at Monmouth**
— The Westgate opened Monmouth (22-5 SU, 16-9 ATS) as a six-point favorite, while a few offshore shops had the total at 165 Thursday night.
— Monmouth has won eight in a row but it has failed to cover the number in its last two outings. Even worse, the Hawks lost a key part of their arsenal moving forward in Monday’s 79-70 non-covering win over Manhattan as 14-point home ‘chalk.’ Deon Jones (10.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG) is ‘out’ indefinitely after breaking his hand against the Jaspers.
— Monmouth is No. 40 in the RPI, going 2-2 versus the Top 50 and 6-2 against the Top 100. The Hawks own neutral-court victories over Notre Dame and Southern Cal. They also won at UCLA and at Georgetown, in addition to sweeping the season series from Siena (RPI: 91).
— Robinson is the captain of the ship for King Rice’s club. The 5’8”, 160-pound point guard is averaging 20.3 points, 3.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
— Monmouth is unbeaten in eight home games, posting a 4-3 spread record.
— Iona (15-10 SU, 10-14 ATS) has been an underdog five times, going winless with a 1-4 spread record.
— Iona has won five of its last six games both SU and ATS, including Monday’s 78-59 win vs. Quinnipiac as a 15-point home ‘chalk.’ A.J. English scored 16 points, dished out six assists and grabbed five rebounds. Ibn Muhammad and Isaiah Williams scored 15 points apiece.
— English leads the Gaels in scoring (21.2 PPG) and assists (6.4 APG).
— When these teams met in New Rochelle on Jan. 15, Monmouth captured a 110-102 victory as a 1.5-point road underdog. Robinson tallied 29 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He was 12-of-12 from the charity stripe to help Monmouth backers cash tickets. Jones added 18 points.
— The ‘under’ is 14-10-1 overall for Monmouth, 5-2 in its home games.
— Totals have been an overall wash (12-12) for Iona, but the ‘under’ is 6-5 in its home contests.
— Tip-off is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.