VCU Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

VCU Rams
Atlantic 10 (26-9, 12-6)


VCU looked poised to make up for their disappointing loss to Stephen F. Austin in their 2014 NCAA Tournament opener. And they were well on their way early in the year, starting off with a 17-3 record. But things went South in a hurry after the unfortunate injury to Briante Weber. Weber spearheaded Coach Shaka Smart’s “havoc” style of play on both ends of the floor and the Rams have never been able to quite figure out how to replace Weber in the lineup.

Big Wins: 11/25 vs Oregon (77-63), 12/13 Northern Iowa (93-87), 12/20 at Cincinnati (68-47)
Bad Losses: 1/31 Richmond (55-64), 2/7 at St. Bonaventure (71-73), 2/11 La Salle (69-74)
Coach: Shaka Smart

Why They Can Surprise:
But even without Weber, the Rams will create plenty of havoc for inexperienced backcourts. While Weber did account for 3.9 steals per game when he was healthy, JeQuan Lewis and Melvin Johnson are picking up the slack. Lewis, a 6-1 sophomore, is a great talent and has really shown his stuff now that he has seen more playing time. A few games after Weber went down, Lewis played 37 minutes in a double overtime loss to La Salle and scored 26 points. He can shoot and attack the basket with ease. Johnson has been the more consistent scoring threat and is the team’s most prolific three-point shooter. Jordan Burgess and Treveon Graham are fellow starting guards. Burgess has yet to reach his full scoring potential, but he is a solid rebounding guard. But it is Graham who leads the team on the glass and in the scoring department. There is not a better all-around player in the conference than Graham.

Why They Can Disappoint:
And VCU needs Graham to do a lot of things. He can score in every way possible, play solid defense and use his 6-6, 220 pound frame to hit the glass. It is on the glass where VCU does struggle. It is a product of the system, but the Rams can now struggle to gain more possessions than their opponents since the turnovers do not come quite as often without Weber on the floor. That means they must make up for it on the glass. Much of that pressure has fallen on sophomore forward Mo Alie-Cox. He is a very physical player who can block shots and wear down opponents, but VCU can struggle against teams with a couple of big, physical forwards on the floor at the same time. When they run into a team like that in the tournament, the Rams may find themselves with another early trip home.

Probable Starters:
Jequan Lewis, Sophomore, Guard, 8.4 ppg, 2.7 apg
Melvin Johnson, Junior, Guard, 12.3 ppg, 1.8 apg
Jordan Burgess, Sophomore, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Treveon Graham, Senior, Guard, 16.3 ppg, 1.6 apg, 7.0 rpg
Mo Alie-Cox, Sophomore, Forward, 7.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.9 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Doug Brooks, Sophomore, Guard, 4.9 ppg
Terry Larrier, Freshman, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Justin Tillman, Freshman, Forward, 3.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Jonathan Williams, Freshman, Guard, 2.2 ppg, 1.4 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.3 (61st in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.5 (145, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.1 (244, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.1 (184, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (44, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.2 (211, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.2 (322, 12)
Rebound Margin: -2.4 (278, 12)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (166, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.4 (16, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NCAA    Second Round loss to Stephen F. Austin
2013    NCAA    Second Round win over Akron
2013    NCAA    Third Round loss to Michigan
2012    NCAA    Second Round win over Wichita State
2012    NCAA    Third Round loss to Indiana
2011    NCAA     Opening Round win over USC
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Georgetown
2011    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Purdue
2011    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Florida State
2011    NCAA     Regional Final win over Kansas
2011    NCAA    National Semifinal loss to Butler
2010    CBI    First Round win over George Washington
2010    CBI    Second Round win over Charleston
2010    CBI    Semifinal win over Boston University
2010    CBI    Finals win over St. Louis
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to UCLA
2008    NIT    First Round loss to UAB
2007    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Duke
2007    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Pittsburgh

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules