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Recon: VCU


A few weeks ago, our esteemed colleague Adam had quite the conundrum — whether or not to go on a double-date. Like all adults, Adam posed the question to a group of strangers on Twitter, hoping to get some reasonable responses. While most the replies had something to do with forced fellatio or anal exploration, I, of course, offered up the most salient piece of advice. I told young, impressionable Adam to go, there was no reason not to. If he approached the date as the fourth wheel (wait a second…) he could relax, crack some jokes and basically be the cock of the walk for however long the painful night lasted. 

We need Dayton to be that fourth wheel (go with it).

Truth be told, the pressure is all on VCU going forward. They have been reeling the past few weeks, are coming off a heartbreaking loss to their intraleague rival and will face two of the league’s best teams, UD and Davidson, in back-t0-back matchups this coming week. The Rams will be favored against Dayton, with no room for error as the tilt with Davidson remains the most important game on their schedule (oddly enough, this feels like a look-ahead game for both programs, if that’s even possible, as Dayton has a vital date with Rhode Island this Tuesday night and VCU has the aforementioned tilt with co-leader Davidson). 

But, let’s forget all about that and soak in the madness of a Prider for a second:


These guys think they are too good for TMan.

[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]

Shaka_Smart_121105_058_aj_srThe Rams were expected to win the Atlantic Ten, and Shaka’s team seemed to be running away with the conference until Briante Weber went down with a season-ending ACL injury in the closing minutes of a loss to Richmond on January 31st. With Weber in the lineup, VCU was off to a 7-1 start in the league, establishing itself as the clear favorite to win the league. With Weber sidelined, the Rams have gone 4-3 — which included back-to-back losses to Saint Bonaventure and La Salle (games in which their star, Treveon Graham, had to sit out with an ankle injury). Although the Rams are in no real danger of losing a tournament bid, they lack the invincibly, and inevitability, they possessed in the first week of February.

Regardless of VCU’s current volatility, they are always going to employ the same tactics as long as Shaka Smart is leading the charge. The Rams will pressure the shit out the ball, force turnovers and efficiently rebound misses of the defensive end. VCU’s defense is still stingy, as A10 opponents are shooting 40.9% from the field, the lowest mark in the league. Additionally, Smart’s club is forcing around sixteen turnovers a contest, best in the conference and eighth nationally. They don’t slow the pace down offensively either, averaging an Atlantic Ten best sixty-eight possessions a game. VCU does what it does, and they do it well. However, the Rams don’t have the type of talent/experience previous VCU clubs had. This team, especially without Weber’s presence, is eminently beatable. 


[row] [column size=”col-3″]

Treveon Graham • F (6’6″/220) • Sr.
16.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 40% 3fg

Solid player, probably overrated, will get plenty of shots up against UD.

[/column] [column size=”col-3″]

Melvin Johnson • G (6’3″/195) • Jr.
12.6 ppg, 1.9 apg

A streaky shooter, has a game built for the playground.

[/column] [column size=”col-3″]

JeQuan Lewis • G (6’1″/175) • So.
8.0 ppg, 1.6 spg, 2.6 apg

Has taken over Weber’s role, often erratically.

[/column] [column size=”col-3″]

Terry Larrier • G (6’8″/175) • Fr.
6.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg

The top recruit in Smart’s freshman class, extremely good athlete.

[/column] [/row] [row] [column size=”col-3″]

Doug Brooks • G (6’3″/180) • So.
5.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg

Solid perimeter shooter, likes to get his shots up.

[/column] [column size=”col-3″]

Mo Alie-Cox • F (6’6″/250) • So.
6.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 59% fg

A physical freak, tough around the rim.

[/column] [column size=”col-3″]

Jarred Guest • F (6’8″/225) • Sr.
1.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg

Was never a factor while at VCU, is an effective defensive player.

[/column] [column size=”col-3″]

Jordan Burgess • G (6’5″/215) • So.
5.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg

Remember his brother Bradford? I do, he was good.

[/column] [/row] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Numbers Game[/title]


[fullwidth_section text_color=”dark” background_type=”color” bg_color=”#C4D8E2″] [spacer height=”25″] [title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]

On paper, this is VCU’s game to lose. They need it more, they’ve been here before and Dayton just wants to make it to the twelfth round on its feet. Gem City keeps it close, but the Rams find a way to edge the Flyers, 75-70. UD’s game against Rhode Island just got ratcheted up a notch. 



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