Shaka Smart and his VCU Rams will hit the road on Thursday night, but their travel arrangements are not all that bothersome.
In fact, the Rams are headed less than 20 minutes down the road to Richmond, where the Spiders will look to make a statement and move above .500 within the Atlantic 10 Conference. However, despite this being VCU’s first season within the league, the Rams have aspirations of winning the conference title and road victories like their opportunity on Thursday night are crucial to their success.
In fact, VCU enters action on Thursday night at 4-0 within the A-10 and at 16-3 overall, the Rams are looking for some separation atop the conference standings. Following LaSalle‘s upset victory over Butler (3-1) on Wednesday, VCU enters their contest against Richmond as the final undefeated team within league play. Therefore, a win on Thursday would move the Rams a full game above both Charlotte (4-1) and Xavier (4-1).
The key to Thursday night’s trip to Richmond however, will hinge on the Rams’ ability to slow down the Spiders’ leading scorer, Darien Brothers. With a 16.2 points per game average, Brothers is fresh off the best performance of his career in which he dropped 39 points in a victory over Charlotte.
The weapons that VCU has across the board, led in all by their own leading scorer Treveon Graham, the Rams have the firepower to control the tempo despite this potentially being a hostile, rivalry game. Smart features a lineup that has four players averaging in double-figures.
Should VCU be able to slow down Brothers’ production and control the tempo given their status as the tenth-ranked offensive scoring team in the country, the Rams should be just fine in coming away with a road victory.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS