The South Region is quite stacked in this year’s NCAA Tournament and in the section’s 5/12 match-up we take a look No. 5 VCU and No. 12 Akron. By way of the MAC Tournament championship, the Zips are dancing, but without star point guard Alex Abreu.
The Rams earned an at-large seed after losing to Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament championship. VCU features a pesky, in-your-face roster that once again is a testament to the work of head coach Shaka Smart. They called their defensive strategy “havoc” because it does exactly what it sounds like.
Here’s the thing in this contest. VCU loves to score, get up, pressure and cause turnovers and for Akron that could be a huge, huge problem. Without Abreu, who was leading the team in assists in addition to averaging over ten points a game, the Zips could face some monumental ball security issues. The Rams are long, athletic and feisty, but if Akron can avoid the Rams’ runs they might just have a chance.
What to Watch For
We know what the key is in this contest. VCU has a game plan and it’s one that if they can score in the half court and get into their press, the Zips could be in for a long night. It’s a match-up nightmare for Akron, but surely they can find other ways if they withstand the Rams’ rush.
7-foot center Zeke Marshall must get touches in the half court and in fact, he needs to score and score at a pretty good clip for the Zips to hang with a Rams’ attack that ranks 11th in the nation in points per game.
Akron has never won a game in its NCAA Tournament history and it’s going to be hard for that Zips to accomplish that on Thursday. Credit VCU in this one.
VCU 78 Akron 59
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