Opponent Previews: Virginia Commonwealth (2/20)

Opponent: VCU Rams
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Record: 15-12 (7-7)

Notable Wins: Duquesne (15-12), Saint Louis (15-12)
Other Wins: George Washington, George Mason, Grambling, North Florida, Appalachian State, Old Dominion, Bucknell, Winthrop, VMI, Fordham, La Salle, California, Dayton

Notable Losses: Dayton (12-14), Saint Josephs (12-14), George Washington (12-15), Richmond (2) (9-17),
Other Losses: Virginia, URI, Marquette, Michigan, Seton Hall, Texas, Davidson

Team Stats:                    VCU                               UMass                            Conference Rank
Points Per Game:   
      76.1 (109th)                  71.3 (248th)                      4th vs 8th   
Rebounds Per Game:    36.7 (Tied-107th)        33.1 (Tied-297th)         4th vs 10th
Assists Per Game:          15.1 (Tied-92nd)          15.4 (66th)                    5th vs 3rd
Points Allowed:               75.4 (261st)                  73.8 (Tied-223rd)

Starting 5:

Justin Tillman: #4 Forward, 6’8, 220 lbs
19.0 PPG   9.4 RPG    .4 APG   .4 SPG    1.0 BPG   .565 FG%

De’Riante Jenkins: #0 Guard, 6’5, 195 lbs
12.9 PPG    3.9 RPG    2.5 APG    1.4 SPG    .3 BPG    .432 3P%

Jonathan Williams: #10 Guard, 6’1, 200 lbs
9.5 PPG    2.5 RPG   5.7 APG    1.3 SPG    .384 FG%

Issac Vannn: #11 Forward, 6’6, 210 lbs
9.6 PPG    3.7 RPG    1.4 APG    1.2 SPG    .413 FG%

Khris Lane:  #21 Forward, 6’7, 245 lbs
7.1 PPG    3.9 RPG    .6 APG    .3 SPG    .3 BPG    .574 FG%

Key Role Players:

Malik Crowfield: #13 Guard, 6’4, 195 lbs
6.4 PPG    1.3 RPG    1.5 APG   .8 SPG    .366 3P%

Mike’l Simms: #1 Guard, 6’5, 220 lbs
5.2 PPG    2.2 RPG    1.0 APG    .7 SPG    .381 FG%

Prediction:
77-66 VCU

VCU has had a very uncharacteristic season for their program with no notable non conference wins and a few really disappointing losses. As a result, the team will fail to qualify for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012 unless they miraculously win the Atlantic 10 tournament. Still, the Rams remain one of the most feared teams in the entire conference due to their feisty havoc defense originally instititionalized by Shaka Smart as well as one of the A-10’s most versatile players in Justin Tillman. At just 6’8, Tillman leads the conference in rebounding and is fifth in scoring.

Key’s to the game
1. Containing Tillman and forcing more defensive minded players to become the offensive weapons.
2. Taking care of the ball and avoiding live ball turnovers.
3. Pipkins’ ability as a one man press break and his offensive efficiency against Johnathan Williams.

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