Basketball preview: Virginia Tech v. Virginia Commonwealth:

#73 R.P.I. V.C.U. v. #92 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

      Virginia Tech and coach J’s travel to an allegedly neutral site to play the team (V.c.u.) with the coach that numerous Hokie fans allegedly wanted; not sure how smart that personnel or H.R. decision was in O&M terms? Though I do know that every single whisper I heard suggested that Virginia Tech and Jim Weaver would not open up the O&M wallet; nor suffer all too many Ram like tugs on the O&M purse-strings.

Be that as that be. Virginia Tech has who they have and V.c.u. has who they have and the University of Virginia up in hooVa may just have a new rival for the hegemey of all things roundball in-state.

As this is a pretty dang tight Ram men’s basketball program right about now. Errrrrrrr, ahhhhh, wait a minute. Clearly I have uva on my mind.
; )

 That attempt at humor aside, it is also a Ram basketball program that is where coach J’s and the next Virginia Tech A.D. can only aspire to be. At least for the moment; as Shaka is a one fine coach, he is an every better recruiter and as much as I really do wanna get with coach J’s, this is the one who got away when our bottom line really should have gone ramrod and bite the fiscal bullet.  C’est aujourd’hui.

Today’s word is …

VCU RosterV.c.u. Backcourt: (returning starters=2 of 4)

  1. Rob Brandenberg: quick jitterbug kinda athlete with a 6’8’’ wingspan at 5’14’’ in his own right. Most experienced guy in the rotation as he entered the rotation as a t-freshman and never left. Third in ppg at 9.4 and basically a poster boy for Elmer’s Glue; an adhesion based jack-of-all-trades who does nothing to hurt you even if he is nothing off the charts as well. How do I put this? Rob is now a matured, yes, that’s the word, a matured-streaky shooter whose bad nite is average and his good nite is an offensive outburst at times. Not half bad from a guy with a series of hand-breaks. God Bless on that.

    Graham cracker 1o1...
    Graham cracker 1o1…
  2. Briante Weber: would do well in Central Park; total pick’ (pocket) at a heisty 3.8 steals per contest! Lindy’s named him the top defender in the A-10 and you will get no argument here. Pretty solid for a bantamweight flavored (162) pound G. Great communicator as a vocal leader goes. Energizer bunny with an astonishing 46’’ vertical leap!?!  And he and his 8.8 ppg with very very limited 10% distance range due own the highest Steal Percentage mark in the 15 year history of the statistic otherwise known as the Steal Percentage itself. That may possess the makings of an overseas defensive stopper of a Pro right there sports-fans. Also, leads the Rams in dimes (4.o apg).
  3. Treveon Graham: #21 could be the best player on the team right now, though Reddic might want a word with that. Leads V.c.u. in scoring at 16.3 and is second in board-work at a surprising 6.5. Has the size 6’6’’ and the strength at 22o lbs. to dictate mismatches in the post and on the perimeter alike.  Was no less than S.I.’s break-out sophomore last year. Has been compared to Paul Pierce of the Nets/Pellicans and formerly of boston keltic fame. This kid is a Pro, only question is where (domestic or export)?
  4. Jordan Burgess: versatile, physical, penetrating attack oriented Guard who has just enough range to keep you honest from the edge. Partial qualifier who just went double-double on the Dean’s for his sit-down time. PROPs on that! Some had him as the #1 Commonwealth recruit two years ago after a de facto r-shirt for the aforementioned qualification ills. Impact player; not scared of the big-shot, even if he and his 31% from the floor do need to work on shot-selection itself. 6.1 ppg and he’s already better from range (35%); go fig’?

    Statue of Liberty esque...
    Statue of Liberty esque…

V.c.u. Frontcourt: (starters back=1)
Juvonte Reddic:  Juvonte is V.c.u.’s one true F/C post in a 4-Guard line-up. And at 6’9’’ and 255 he is a load –although honestly, he does not look that strong on film. Reddic is a long athletic Forward who is said to have the speed of a Guard; rated as “the impact player” of the A-10 by CBS Sports. Stud rebounder who did well at Nike’s big-man camp this past summer Only named: “Player of the year” “Top Rebounder”, and “Top NBA Prospect” by Lindy’s per-season. 11.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1 block on 58% from the floor and a very decent 37.5% from 3-point land may just get him paid.

VCU Match UpsV.c.u. Bench: (depth ~4 deep)

  • Jarred Guest, explosive inside-out vertical player, yet only with 2 ppg, just south of 3 boards on 33% from the floor; seems to have regressed just a smidgen this campaign.
  • Mo Alie-Cox, predator hair-style 7’1’’ wingspan from a rookie year VHT Va.H.S. in-state recruit. A very physical Swing (already) who plays taller and deeper than you’d expect. Gets you 3 ppg, nearly 4 rpg and a team leading 1.7 swats in relief as a partial qualifier.
  • Melvin Johnson, Bronx NYC kid with some street to his game; more of a role-player and his role is long-range specialist. Best off the bench; 35% at such; maybe best on the team, and his 9.1 ppg as a sub’ does not suck either.
  • JeQuan Lewis, holds several Tennessee state H.S. scoring marks (including ppg), 6’1’’ yet about 6’5’’ with the House Party ‘fro; seriously. Shaka’s #1 recruit last year; more of a scoring Pt.Guard, as he is tremendously creative off the dribble; on 7.7 ppg and a Alpha-Ram 45% from beyond the arc!

Tell the truth: ... coach J's or coach Shaka ... who you gots???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Four guys with 100+ FTA’s and five with 79 or better is a problem. So is coaching, ditto the backcourt, ditto final-exams which could indeed create a sleepy or maybe even distracted environment for either team. Then we come to the foible, that prolly really only is code for a potential game-ender … in that V.c.u. is only #1 out of  every single D-1 men’s hoops team in Steals and only #5 in Turnover Margin. And the answer to “what is the HAVOC” style of play has been put to rest.

"Get smart...."
“Get smart….”

 V.c.u. is the pre-season favorite in Atlantic-10 terms. They are rightfully tabbed as a very likely March Madness tourney team comes next March. And yet they were crushed by fellow A.c.c. Florida State (18 points) and recently upset by .5oo (5-5) Directional Iowa. No wonder studly coach Shaka Smart is unhappy with his full and half-court defense alike as he recently told ESPN. V.c.u. is 9 up and 3 down for their uneven looking troubles; and quite directly, they did not appear as substantial as I had feared they would on film. Still yet, “sure enough”, this is a de facto home-court game for the neighboring Rams. All of that despite the fact that Virginia Tech has been the stronger defensive and rebounding team alike in paper all year long; and the one thing I know about those two effort based metrics is that they should never go cold.

 Stilll yet, it would take a very hot shooting night for Virginia Tech and coach J’s to upset V.c.u. here. And the lingering leg injuries to Smitty (Calf) and to Barksdale (knee) finally forced me off the Vah.Tech upset pick. However, I would pick the Hokies to upset this unsteady version of V.c.u. if we were healthy and at home.

Not to mention Virginia Tech’s generic lack of backcourt ball-handling here. This is the basketball game where that 2013-14 car-alarm finally goes off.

Virginia Tech=59. V.c.u.=74




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