Now, just six days later, the Rams have lost two straight, both against conference opponents.
There are two very different routes that Shaka Smart’s squad can take. They can bounce back from adversity and regroup, or they can hang their heads and lose the swagger that was so evident while the Rams felt as though they were unstoppable.
“You can’t take winning for granted,” said VCU senior Darius Theus. “Maybe we got a little comfortable with our success. Now we got punched in the mouth two times. We’ve got to get back to the drawing board and get back to what we do.”
Theus is absolutely right. At just a game out of first place, the Rams have to get back to the basics that made them the 19th best team in the nation.
VCU thrives on a defensive scheme that Smart calls “havoc.” It is less about x’s and o’s and more about a philosophy and an attitude. The Rams have been one of the best stealing teams in the NCAA this season but haven’t been able to work their magic over their last two losses.
On Saturday, La Salle forced 14 turnovers to VCU’s 12, a troubling stat for a squad that prides themselves on defense. The Rams are 17-1 when they win the turnover battle. It is their bread and butter and a necessity for success.
The A-10 is wide open, and I still think Smart will have his boys competing in a conference title.
VCU will have a great opportunity to get back on track when they face Rhode Island (6-12) on Wednesday.
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