Saint Mary’s or VCU? How to pick 5 vs 12 matchup in 2023 March Madness bracket

It’s that time of year again to try and decide which disgruntled choice is the right gamble. And when a big name like VCU comes up in the conversation, it’s understandable that the Rams will come up as a possible disgruntled candidate.

On Friday, VCU plays No. 12 against No. 5 Saint Mary’s in a matchup that’s sure to be viewed as a possible upset choice by those filling in brackets.

Sporting News’ model sees VCU as the second most likely 12-seed to win in the opening round with a 33.6 percent chance of winning, nearly nine percent behind Drake’s 42.9 percent chance of defeating Miami.

The Sporting News dives into the matchup to see if this is a point where basketball fans should expect an upset.

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Saint Mary’s vs VCU odds

This matchup between the Gaels and Rams will start on Friday with Saint Mary’s the early favorite according to BetMGM. Here’s the information you need to know about the game, including time, TV channels and odds.

  • Opportunities: Saint Mary (-3.5)
  • Date: Friday March 17th
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Arena: MVP Arena, Albany, NY

MORE: Watch March Madness games live with Sling TV

Saint Mary’s (26-7, 14-2 WCC)

The West Coast Conference won’t be sending as many teams to March Madness as it has in the past, but that doesn’t mean Saint Mary’s haven’t picked up their fair share of experience by playing against strong teams.

The Gaels have played seven games against teams set to play in the dance, including three teams seeded in a fifth seed or higher. All but two of those games were close competitions. Saint Mary’s beat 15-seeded Vermont 79-53 and was blown out in their third matchup against three-seeded Gonzaga 77-51 in the conference tournament. It shared regular-season matchups with Gonzaga, narrowly losing to No. 1 Houston 53-48, defeating Oral Roberts 78-70 and defeating San Diego State 68-61.

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Defense is the name of the game for Saint Mary’s. The Gails held opponents to just 60.1 points per game, fifth-best among 363 qualified teams, while offensive average of 71.4 points per game sits 187th.

Senior guard Logan Johnson was the team’s leader, but it’s freshman guard Aidan Mahaney who stole the show in Moraga, California. Mahaney came off the bench for his first nine games and shined with two 20-point games and was named a starter on December 7th. Since then, he has averaged 15 points per game with an effective field goal percentage of 54.2 percent.

Saint Mary’s have largely shrugged off some of their inconsistent play from earlier this season, having won 17 of their last 20 since sitting 9-4 on December 18. The defense has dropped an average of 74.3 points over the past three games. That includes two losses to Gonzaga and it needs to get back in shape to avoid a premature end to its March Madness run.

  • NET Ranking: 11
  • KenPom Ranking: 11
  • Quad 1 record: 2-3
  • Quad 2 record: 7-2
  • Quad 3 record: 11-2
  • Quad 4 record: 5-0
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 40
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 9

key figures

Logan Johnson (6-2, 170-pound senior guard)

14.7 PTS, 4.8 REB, 3.7 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.4 BLACK

Aidan Mahaney (6-3, 180-pound freshman guard)

14.5 PTS, 2.3 REB, 2.0 AST, 0.9 STL, 0.1 BLACK

Alex Ducas (6-6, 230-pound senior guard)

12.5 PTS, 4.2 REB, 0.9 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.4 BLACK

Mitchell Saxen (6-10, 230-pound junior center)

11.6 PTS, 7.8 REB, 1.7 AST, 0.8 STL, 1.1 BLACK

Kyle Bowen (6-8, 225-pound senior forward)

5.3 PTS, 7.2 REB, 1.7 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.9 BLACK

CRAZY PICKS: 10 seeds | 11 seeds | 12 seeds | 13 seeds

VCU (27-7, 15-3 A-10)

It wasn’t long ago that the Rams were seemingly an eternal force in March. From 2011 to 2017, VCU reached the tournament every season, including making the Final Four once and making the Sweet 16 on two other occasions. The Rams, now coached by Mike Rhoades, are aiming for their first tournament win since the tournament’s 2016 edition.

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VCU is going into the contest on Friday with a lot of momentum. The Rams have won nine straight games, including the last three wins at the A-10 tournament, with each win yielding at least 12 points.

The Rams, who play at the Atlantic 10, haven’t faced the most challenging competition lately. The last time they played a team in March Madness was on November 26 against Kennesaw State, who narrowly edged out VCU in a 64-61 win. Previously, the Rams lost to Memphis 62-47, beat Pittsburgh 71-67 and lost to Arizona State 63-59.

The Rams are all about defense. VCU ranked 24th in fewest points allowed per game with 62.9, but 186th in points scored with 71.4 points per game. Adrian “Ace” Baldwin Jr. has been the team’s top scorer this season, averaging 12.7 points per game, but has only had two games (Feb. 3 vs. St. Louis, 37; Nov. 30 vs. Vanderbilt, 28). ) if he scored 20 or more points.

  • NET Ranking: 53
  • KenPom Ranking: 58
  • Quad 1 record: 0-1
  • Quad 2 record: 5-3
  • Quad 3 record: 12-1
  • Quad 4 record: 10-2
  • Offensive efficiency ranking: 140
  • Defensive efficiency ranking: 17

key figures

Adrian Baldwin Jr. (6-0, 190-lb Junior Guard)

12.7 PTS, 2.9 REB, 5.9 AST, 2.2 STL, 0.1 BLACK

Brandon Johns (6-8, 240-pound senior forward)

11.8 PTS, 5.3 REB, 0.8 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.8 BLACK

Jalen Deloach (6-9, 215-pound sophomore forward)

10.0 PTS, 7.0 REB, 1.1 AST, 1.1 STL, 1.4 BLACK

Jayden Nunn (6-4, 190-pound guard sophomore)

9.3 PTS, 2.4 REB, 1.6 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.6 BLACK

Nicholas Kern (6-6, 190-pound guard sophomore)

5.3 PTS, 2.7 REB, 0.8 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.2 BLACK

Saint Mary’s vs. VCU prediction

Saint Mary’s looks like a team that could easily be defeated in the first round. The Gaels aren’t great offense, and defense has been exposed in two recent matchups against the Bulldogs.

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But this Rams team looks like Saint Mary’s Lite. Offense is significantly worse than the Gaels and defense, while notable, was worse than Saint Mary’s this year despite a much weaker schedule (116th-59th).

The best team VCU faced this year was Memphis earlier in the season, and while the Rams have grown a lot since November 20, the only test against a top team in March can’t be ignored when they finished at 15 lost points.

This could be a big tournament for Mahaney as he looks to take his breakout freshman campaign to the big stage in March. The VCU has a well-rounded roster and is coming to their side with momentum, but this might not be the best place to look for excitement.

History of 5 vs. 12 matches in NCAA tournament

It feels like a rule that every bracket must contain at least one 12-over-5 glitch, and history has certainly shown that to be the case with good reason. #12 seeds have an all-time win ratio of .358 versus #5 seeds, which alone would suggest that at least one in four would win in any given year.

And since 2010, only 2015 and 2018 were missing a 12-over-5 excitement. And in 2013, 2014 and 2019, three No. 12 seeds beat the No. 5 seeds.

Here’s a recap of all 12 over 5 surprises since 2010.

Year Result
2022 Richmond 67, Iowa 63
2022 State of New Mexico 70, UConn 63
2021 State of Oregon 70, Tennessee 56
2019 Murray State 83, Marquette 64
2019 Liberty 80, Mississippi State 76
2019 Oregon 72, Wisconsin 54
2017 Middle Tennessee 81, Minnesota 72
2016 Yale 79, Baylor 75
2016 Little Rock 85, Purdue 83 (2 OTs)
2014 Stephen F Austin 77, VCU 75 (OT)
2014 State of North Dakota 80, Oklahoma 75 (OT)
2014 Harvard 61, Cincinnati 57
2013 Oregon 68, Oklahoma 55
2013 California 64, UNLV 61
2013 Ole Miss 57, Wisconsin 46
2012 VCU 62, Wichita State 59
2012 South Florida 58, Temple 44
2011 Richmond 69, Vanderbilt 66
2010 78 Cornell, 65 Temple

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