Not long after the “second round” pairings of this year’s NCAA tournament were announced, Akron center Zeke Marshall guaranteed a Zips win to the local Ohio media.
A few days later and after a 46-point beatdown…Zeke’s got some explaining to do.
The Rams blitzed Akron throughout the night, turning a 25-point halftime lead into a 88-42 win in tonight’s 12 v 5 matchup, marking VCU’s third-straight season with at least one NCAA tournament win in the largest blowout of a 12 v 5 matchup in tournament history.
The Rams capitalized on Akron’s lack of depth and a true point guard, turning the Zips over 21 times while forcing freshman Carmelo Betancourt into five turnovers himself in his duties as starting point guard for the missing Alex Abreu.
VCU put together one of their best offensive performances of the season, connecting on 53.8% of their 64 attempts (22 more than Akron), with senior Troy Daniels bouncing back from a rough o-point A-10 final for a 23-point NCAA tournament performance.
Daniels was a deadly 6-of-11 from long range and hit eight of his 13 attempts on the evening to lead all scorers with 23 points in the win.
Daniels was one of two Rams to hit 20+ points, with junior Juvonte Reddic adding 21 points to go along with six rebounds in the win.
Junior Rob Brandenberg dropped 14 points on 5-9 shooting while Melvin Johnson rounded out the list of double-digit scorers with 10 points for the Rams.
The 42 points surrendered was the lowest point total VCU has allowed all season.
The win in front of just under 20,000 fans punched VCU a ticket to a round of 32 matchup against the Wolverines of Michigan University. MU downed the 13th-seeded Jackrabbits of South Dakota State in front of their home crowd, 71-56 earlier in the evening.
That game will tip at 12:15PM on Saturday, March 23rd at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.