VCU Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Capsule

VCU Rams
Atlantic-10 (24-10, 14-4)
VCU got off to a very slow start. The schedule was tough, but the Rams failed to capitalize against any of their quality non-conference opponents and lost to Duke, Wisconsin, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Cincinnati all in their first ten games of the season. That put the Rams out of the national conversation. But in Atlantic 10 action, VCU won their first nine contests and finally got back on track.
Big Wins: 1/5 at St. Joseph’s (85-82), 1/24 St. Bonaventure (84-76), 2/27 at George Washington (69-65)
Bad Losses: 12/6 vs Florida State (71-76), 2/11 at Massachusetts (63-69), 2/24 at George Mason (69-76)
Coach: Will Wade
Why They Can Surprise:
VCU does what VCU always does…force turnovers. The team ranks seventh in the nation in steals per game and 12th in turnovers forced. The Rams are also solid on the glass, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Mo Alie-Cox and Justin Tillman spearhead the rebounding effort. Alie-Cox, a 6-7, 250 pound bruiser, is a menace on both ends of the floor. He will block shots and push around bigger opponents. Tillman has emerged as the team’s best rebounder during his sophomore year. He is more athletic than Alie-Cox and can score a little bit too. But perhaps the biggest reason for the team’s strong rebounding is the addition of Korey Billbury on the wing. The 6-5 guard transferred in from Oral Roberts for his senior season and is averaging 11.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals. But it is the rest of the backcourt that garners most of the steals and does much of the scoring. Melvin Johnson, JeQuan Lewis and Doug Brooks all average over 1.3 steals per game. Johnson and Lewis are also the team’s top scorers. Johnson leads the way with 17.4 points per game and has knocked down an impressive 39.1 percent of his 266 three-point attempts.
Why They Can Disappoint:
For teams that can get past the ‘havoc,’ beating VCU is not all that tough. This is a team that will commit fouls just because of their style of play. They will also allow easy buckets if they do not get a steal. That basically means anybody who can win the turnover battle, or at least keep it even, will be getting easy buckets and free-throws, while VCU is taking jump shots. In the game that ended their nine game A-10 winning streak, the Rams forced just ten turnovers against George Washington. The Colonials took advantage of their quality looks and hit 45.8 percent of their shots from the floor, including 8-of-18 from beyond the arc. VCU should have lost that game by more than three points if George Washington could hit their free-throws. The moral of the story is that turnovers will mean everything. Win the turnover battle and any decent team can send VCU home. That is easier said than done though.
Probable Starters:
JeQuan Lewis, Junior, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 4.9 apg
Melvin Johnson, Senior, Guard, 17.4 ppg, 2.2 apg
Korey Billbury, Senior, Guard, 11.6 ppg, 1.2 apg, 5.0 rpg
Michael Gilmore, Sophomore, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Mo Alie-Cox, Junior, Forward, 10.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Key Roleplayers:
Doug Brooks, Junior, Guard, 4.2 ppg, 1.3 apg
Justin Tillman, Sophomore, Forward, 7.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.1 (83rd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (59, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.3 (114, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.6 (184, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (136, 8)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.7 (75, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.4 (226, 8)
Rebound Margin: 2.2 (111, 6)
Assists Per Game:  14.6 (90, 7)
Turnovers Per Game:  11.8 (90, 7)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NCAA Second Round loss to Ohio State
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 3/6