“Offense wins games but defense wins championships”. This statement has been true to most sports fans for years on end. However, with the new rule changes in NCAA Basketball regarding foul discrepancies, teams will have to play more offense than defense.
VCU, known for its Havoc defense, is going to win more games this season by offense than defense. If a team struggles shooting free throws down the stretch, which the Rams do not, then a team can lose quickly. Just imagine if Dwight Howard had to play with these rules and all the free throws he would miss due to teams being in the bonus.
Teams are going to have to use their feet more when guarding point guards and sure-handed dribblers instead of being able to use their hands to their advantage. VCU and head coach Shaka Smart, preach feet to their players and will not be as affected by these rules as other teams. However, the general style of play that VCU uses has in impact on how its defense performs.
VCU predicates defense by with full-court pressure as well as half-court traps. They also force a ton of turnovers. Against Winthrop today, they forced nine turnovers in the first half and 16 in the second.
Against the Winthrop Eagles, the Rams scored 45 points in the first half and were up by four at half.
However, it’s not the defense that worries Rams fans; it’s the offense. Coach Smart’s squad is deep and has good shooters at almost every position, including its bigs. If point guard Briante Weber (16 points, five steals and four assists) can get into the lane successfully, the Rams get open looks and knock down uncontested jumpers. Weber is the x-factor in the VCU offense that features guards Treveon Graham (13 points and 10 boards) and Rob Brandenburg (11 points) and bigs Juvonte Reddic (11 points and four rebounds) and Terrence Shannon.
Depth is the Rams’ biggest ally this season as they play a steady crew of ten players in a game. When a team has this much depth, they can be aggressive on defense and dictate the pace of the game by using an array of traps which VCU loves to do. This team is built to push the pace regardless of the team that they play.
Offense will be either the best friend or worst enemy to the Rams this season. If they score at a pace that matches its Havoc defense, VCU will be untouchable in the Atlantic-10 conference. VCU won this battle 92-71 against Big South Conference‘s Wintrhop Eagles and look to keep this early pace during conference play.