#13 VCU Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

VCU Rams

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic 10

VCU Team Page#13 VCU Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy VCU Basketball Tickets

VCU had another great season under Coach Shaka Smart in 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014 campaign will not be any different. The Rams are coming off of a season in which they won 27 games, went 12-4 in Atlantic 10 play and earned a five seed in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately for the Rams, they ran into a hot Michigan team in the Third Round and that put an end to another tournament run.

2012-13 Record: 27-9, 12-4
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Shaka Smart
Coach Record: 111-36 at VCU, 111-36 overall

Who’s Out:
The Rams will need to replace a couple key contributors, most notably former starters Darius Theus and Troy Daniels. Theus did an amazing job running the high powered VCU offense. He dished out 4.8 assists per game and committed fewer than two turnovers. Daniels, who averaged 12.2 points per game during his last season at VCU, was one of the most underappreciated shooters in the country. He made 3.4 three-pointers per game and knocked down 40.3 percent of his attempts. Teddy Okereafor, Justin Tuoyo, D.J. Haley and David Hinton all tallied less than nine minutes per contest last year, but they did provide emergency depth.

Who’s In:
VCU had to wait on a couple of last year’s freshman. Mo Alie-Cox and Jordan Burgess were both partial qualifiers and redshirted last season. Alie-Cox, a 6-6, 250 pound forward, may be a touch on the short side, but he is a physical presence in the paint and has a massive wingspan. Burgess is a versatile guard who should emerge as one of the best shooters on the team. Jairus Lyles, JeQuan Lewis, Torey Burston, Antravious Simmons and Emerson Burk round out the big group of freshmen. Lewis is the point guard of the future and should be a fine backup from day one. Simmons should be an impact player too. He will have competition for minutes from Terrance Shannon. The senior transfer from Florida State averaged 7.9 points and 5.6 rebounds with the Seminoles in 2012-2013. If he can stay healthy, which has not been the case throughout his collegiate career, Shannon could step into a starting role.

Who to Watch:
The most important player on VCU this year could be probable new starting point guard Briante Weber. The 6-2 junior was not far behind Theus when it came to assist-to-turnover ratio. And since Weber averaged over 20 minutes per game, it should be a pretty smooth transition. Weber is a great defender and floor leader and he should be more than capable of spearheading the VCU “havoc” on both ends of the floor. Weber will get help from Rob Brandenberg and Treveon Graham. Brandenberg’s athleticism allows him to attack the basket with ease and he can knock down plenty of three-pointers. Graham led the Rams with 15.1 points per game. Even if Weber turns into a great leader with the ball, Graham will be the leader of the team. Melvin Johnson has an opportunity to crack the starting lineup, especially when Coach Smart wants to play small. Johnson showed flashes as a freshman and could be a consistent double digit scorer with a little more accuracy from outside.

Final Projection:
Senior Juvonte Reddic is the most polished big man in the A-10. He is a consistent interior scorer who shot 56.9 percent from the floor and added an impressive 8.1 rebounds. Like everybody on VCU, Reddic can get up and down the floor too. Jarred Guest is back to add frontcourt depth and, with Shannon, Simmons and Alie-Cox, the Rams certainly do not lack in quality depth in the paint. Coach Smart needs bodies to rotate around and he has them this year. When the offense has a bad day, like they did against Michigan and a handful of other times, VCU can lose. The hope is that will not happen in March until a week or two later into the NCAA Tournament this time around.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Briante Weber, Junior, Guard, 5.4 points per game
Rob Brandenberg, Senior, Guard, 10.4 points per game
Treveon Graham, Junior, Guard, 15.1 points per game
Terrance Shanon, Senior, Forward, DNP last season at VCU
Juvonte Reddic, Senior, Forward, 14.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.9 (14th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.5 (120, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.0 (83, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.4 (248, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (34, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.1 (106, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.1 (155, 8)
Rebound Margin: -0.2 (183, 10)
Assists Per Game: 14.5 (63, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (50, 4)


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