Mercer at VMI: 3/7/21 College Basketball Picks and Prediction

Mercer at VMI: 3/7/21 College Basketball Picks and Prediction Photo by Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

VMI Keydets (13-11) vs Mercer Bears (17-10)

Game Info: Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 7:30 pm (Harrah's Cherokee Center)

Betting Odds: VMI Keydets +1.5 -- Over/Under: 155 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Mercer Bears and the VMI Keydets will square off at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in the Semifinals of the SoCon Championship this Sunday night.

The 7-seed Mercer Bears (17-10) was able to advance to the Semifinals after upsetting the 2-seed Wofford Terriers, 62-61, this past Saturday night. Mercer was outstanding defensively against Wofford and was able to hang on for the victory late after going into halftime with a 40-23 lead. Mercer shot 45.8% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc while Wofford shot 37.7% from the field and 27.8% from beyond the arc. Mercer lost the turnover battle by a 10-7 margin while the Bears outrebounded the Terriers by a 38-31 margin. Leading the way for the Bears was Neftali Alvarez who had 13 points, 5 rebounds, & 6 assists.

On the season, Mercer is averaging 77.4 ppg on 48.3% shooting from the field. The Bears are averaging 8.7 three-pointers per game on 37.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Mercer has been led by Ross Cummings (14.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.5 apg), Neftali Alvarez (13.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.5 spg), Leon Ayers III (12.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.2 spg), & Felipe Haase (11.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.8 apg).

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Defensively, Mercer is allowing their opponents to average 72.4 ppg on 44.0% shooting from the field. The Bears have a rebound margin of 2.4 and a turnover margin of -0.5.

The VMI Keydets (13-11) was able to pull off a huge upset and advanced to the Semifinals after upsetting the 3-seed Furman Paladins, 91-90 in OT, this past Saturday night. VMI was able to fight back from a 77-66 deficit with just 5:54 left in regulation to force OT and was able to hold off the Paladins for the victory after taking an 88-82 lead with just 1:46 left in OT. VMI shot 50.0% from the field and 38.5% from beyond the arc while Furman shot 50.7% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc. VMI lost the turnover battle by a 10-9 margin, however, outrebounded Furman by a 39-30 margin in the victory. Leading the way for the Keydets was Jake Stephens who had 25 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, & 3 blocks.

On the season, VMI is averaging 80.9 ppg on 46.8% shooting from the field. The Keydets are averaging 11.1 three-pointers per game on 38.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, VMI has been led by Greg Parham (18.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.1 spg), Jake Stephens (15.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.7 bpg), Kamdyn Curfman (12.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.3 apg), & Sean Conway (10.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 apg).

Defensively, VMI is allowing their opponents to average 76.0 ppg on 42.7% shooting from the field. The Keydets have a rebound margin of 2.5 and a turnover margin of -2.4.

The Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record. The Keydets are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog and 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.

VMI has had an outstanding season and although their defense can at times give up some points, the Keydets can upset anyone with an offense that ranks 17th in scoring offense, 48th in FG%, & 2nd in three-pointers made per game. Mercer has also been led by their offense this season, which ranks 48th in scoring offense, 25th in FG%, & 28th in 3P-FG%. VMI looked impressive against Furman considering they only had picked up one win away from home in the regular season, however, I think Mercer is just the better overall team and as I think Ross Cummings & Neftali Alvarez will get what they want at the offensive end in this one, I am taking Mercer to cover this small spread. Good Luck!

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Brett’s Pick Mercer Bears -1.5

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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