Fordham (1-5, 8-11) at VCU (4-1, 16-4)…
Sometimes I think too much or talk too much. Previews become overcomplicated and full of gasbag analysis. That won't happen today, because sometimes it's simple. Tonight is all about attentiveness. What in the world does that mean?
Simple: VCU has to pay attention to the things that make them good. This isn't a trap game as much as it's a letdown game. The Rams scored two gigantic road wins last week, and you-know-who awaits its date in That Animal Saturday morning. The guys are back at home, and that kind of comfort and familiarity can be, well, dispiriting. Antispiriting?
Anyway, those things include a fast (but not hurried) offense, and a sparks-filled press. VCU is likely to see some zone tonight, so there needs to be a crispness to how the Rams attack both man and zone, as well as transitioning when Fordham switches.
Specifically to Fordham–whose Rams enter the game 1-5 in the A10 and 8-11 overall–it means gang rebounding. Fordham is among the smaller teams in the nation and they do an outstanding job taking care of the basketball–39th best in the nation, in fact. Employing a punishing, physical style on them is key.
However the number one item in which VCU must remain attentive: knowing where uber-shooters Jon Severe (20.2ppg) and Branden Frazier (17.8ppg) are at all times. Severe has hoisted 335 shots this year, and Frazier 260 of his own. For comparison, The Freight Trein leads VCU with 244 shots and Juvonte Reddic is second with 180. And Fordham has played one fewer game.
Both of those players have the ability to heat up to white hot temperatures, and both can rain them in from the arc, so VCU must not let either of them get untracked. Mandell Thomas (11.9ppg) is also a guard and their third option. Thomas is a solid combo guard who scored 16 points against VCU in last year's game.
This Fordham team is beginning to look like head coach Tom Pecora's better Hofstra teams: built around a cadre of talented guards with a big man whose primary job is to rebound. Ryan Rhoomes (6.7ppg, 8.5rpg) fills that role admirably for Pecora. Rhoomes is a high energy, high impact 6-8 glass-eater who can score around the basket.
Look for Fordham to go four guards with 6-4 Bryan Smith (6.5ppg, 5.0rpg) playing the Treveon Graham role.
Sum It Up, Knucklehead
Attend to business. Guard Severe and Frazier the moment they leave their hotel room. Don't look ahead or behind. Play with VCU aggressiveness.