We continue our series of intriguing teams for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. We so far have alerted the readers to Kentucky, Miami and Baylor. VCU is another team that fits in this category as well. The Rams are now a household name after their Final Four run and their intriguing matchup last year with Indiana.
The Atlantic Ten has taken their shots at the Rams and so far La Salle and Richmond were the only ones to land deathblows. The blueprint in those games were relatively the same as the turnover totals were low and VCU had to play a halfcourt game. The numbers are staggering for this team with regards to the amount of turnovers they force and the number of steals they have. The system is called havoc and it’s basically 40 minutes of in-your-shorts defense. Most teams wilt under the pressure especially in the second half when their lack of depth catches up with them.
The problem for the Rams comes when the turnovers aren’t there and it’s a grind it out contest. They are a deep team, but finding reliable options game after game has been a struggle at times. Juvonte Reddic is an incredible big man who has an array of moves on the inside, but there are times that he is the forgotten man. Darius Theus is an outstanding point guard who can get his shot whenever he wants via the drive, but sometimes he defers to his teammates too much. The senior had 22 points vs. St. Joe’s, but has had just 29 in the four games since. Troy Daniels has range out to the parking lot, but consistency has been an issue with him from time-to-time. He had 27 three’s over a three game stretch, but just 10 in his last six games.
VCU will not be scared of anyone. This team has faced Missouri, Duke, Memphis, Alabama and Wichita State this season. You can make a case that they should have beaten the Blue Devils and Tigers. The Crimson Tide got run out of Richmond and the Shockers stole a win at the Siegel Center. What will be interesting is how they handle being the hunted instead of the hunter. Gonzaga has adjusted nicely now that they are the hunted although they haven’t made a deep run since 2009. VCU’s draw will be very important come tournament time. A patient half court team that doesn’t turn the ball over will be problematic. Then again, the right draw will send the Rams back to the Final Four once again.