VCU Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

VCU Rams
Atlantic 10 (26-8, 12-4)

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VCU has become a constant presence in the postseason, highlighted by the Final Four run in 2011. The move from the CAA to the Atlantic 10 has not ended the Rams’ streak of postseason appearances. This is a group that does what we have come to expect from Coach Shaka Smart. They create turnovers, they take care of the ball and they shoot a lot of three-pointers. The amazing turnover margin is because of point guards Darius Theus and Briante Weber. Theus is the usual starter, but it has become increasingly difficult to keep Weber off of the floor. Those two combine to average 7.7 assists, just 3.1 turnovers and 5.3 steals. That is what VCU basketball is all about.

Big Wins: 11/22 vs Memphis (78-65), 12/15 Alabama (73-54), 3/2 Butler (84-52)
Bad Losses: 11/13 Wichita State (51-53), 1/24 at Richmond (74-86), 1/26 La Salle (61-69)
Coach: Shaka Smart (4 seasons at VCU)

Why They Can Surprise:
Theus and Weber will not do much scoring, but the Rams have four major scoring threats. Troy Daniels is the prolific shooter of the bunch. He attempts 8.5 three-pointers per contest. That may be a lot of long balls, but he does knock down 40.6 percent of those attempts. Rob Brandenberg takes about half of his shots from beyond the arc, although he has been a bit streaky this season. Treveon Graham is yet another long ball threat, but unlike Daniels and Brandenberg, he can also score by attacking the basket. The 6-5 sophomore has emerged as the top scoring threat for the Rams and leads the team with 15.5 points per game. Graham’s ability to knock down the long ball keeps the opposition honest. If they guard him too tight beyond the arc, Graham can use his strength, size and agility to beat most defenders off the dribble and finish in the paint. Juvonte Reddic is the only forward who is regularly in the starting five, although Graham does plenty of work on the glass and defensively to help out in the frontcourt. Reddic, at 6-9 and 235 pounds, has the size to hold down the fort on both ends of the floor. He is an extremely efficient scorer in the paint and that, along with the playmaking skills of Theus and Weber, opens up plenty of space for the shooters on the perimeter.

Why They Can Disappoint:
In order to cause the traditional VCU havoc, depth is needed. While Coach Smart can go 11 deep if needed, the number is usually closer to eight or nine. A couple ineligible freshmen have forced the Rams to reach a little deeper down the bench than they had expected. Freshman Melvin Johnson is a decent scorer, but his shooting has been horribly inconsistent; and that’s on a good day. Jarred Guest can grab some rebounds, D.J. Haley is a decent shot blocker and Teddy Okereafor is third in line behind Theus and Weber, yet the quality of the depth just does not seem to be there this season despite many of the same players being involved. With so much effort being put into every possession, this VCU squad could tire down the stretch of the season and individual games a bit more than in year’s past.

Probable Starters:
Darius Theus, Senior, Guard, 7.1 ppg, 4.9 apg, 2.5 spg
Rob Brandenberg, Junior, Guard, 10.4 ppg, 1.4 apg
Troy Daniels, Senior, Guard, 12.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Treveon Graham, Sophomore, Guard, 15.5 ppg, 1.6 apg, 6.0 rpg
Juvonte Reddic, Junior, Forward, 14.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jarred Guest, Sophomore, Forward, 2.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Melvin Johnson, Freshman, Guard, 7.0 ppg, 1.0 apg
Briante Weber, Sophomore, Guard, 5.4 ppg, 2.8 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.1 (11th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.5 (120, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (72, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.4 (249, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (28, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.4 (90, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.0 (150, 8)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (167, 8)
Assists Per Game: 15.0 (39, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (61, 5)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Wichita State
2012    NCAA    Round of 32 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 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules