Game Preview: No.23 VCU v George Washington
VCU and George Washington tip it up in an Atlantic 10 semifinal rubber match, with the winner not only taking a 2-1 season series lead, but also a trip to the Atlantic 10 Final as well. The Rams lost at George Washington, 76-66, in DC on January 14th then avenged the loss in a 92-75 Siegel Center win just under a month later. Both teams are coming off quarterfinal wins in which they advanced with relative ease. VCU easily dispatched Richmond, 71-53. The Colonials outlasted UMass, 85-77, after leading by double digits most of the night.
VCU (25-7, 12-4)
GW (24-7, 11-5)
A QUICK LOOK AT VCU
The Rams dominated Richmond yesterday and were able to rest their starters in the process. Briante Weber led the Rams with 18 points but did so in just 18 minutes of play. Juvonte Reddic picked up four quick fouls and played just 10 minutes. No VCU starter played over 25 minutes in the win while four bench players played 19 or more minutes for the Rams. The Rams dominated a poor-rebounding Richmond squad on the glass but turned the Spiders over just 14 times. The last time VCU faced the Colonials they forced 22 GW turnovers and will hope to get more of the same today. The Rams turned GW over 21 times in DC earlier this season but gave up 56.3% shooting in the loss.
A QUICK LOOK AT GW
Like in their early season win against VCU, GW turned the ball over 19 times last night against UMass but were able to convert on 50.8% of their field goal attempts. The Colonials were once again without the services of second leading scorer Kethan Savage who continues to nurse a foot fracture but filled up the stat sheet with a perfectly balanced scoring attack from their five starters, all of whom posted double-digits, and got 14 points from Nemanja Mikic off the bench as well. The Mike Lonergan led squad played a seven-man rotation last night and saw four starters play 32 or more minutes. The fifth, Isaiah Armwood, played 29 minutes and led GW with 15 points in the win.
Scoring Offense: VCU 75.6, GW 73.6
Scoring Defense: VCU 65.5, GW 66.3
Effective Field Goal% Offense: GW 51.8%, VCU 47.8%
Effective Field Goal% Defense: GW 46.7%, VCU 47.3%
3-Point Field Goal%: GW 36.8%, VCU 34.8%
3-Point Field Goal% Defense: VCU 29.7%, GW 30.9%
Rebounds per game: VCU 37.9, GW 37.7
Turnover Percentage Defense: VCU 25.9%, GW 19.7%
Turnover Percentage Offense: VCU 17.4%, GW 19%
VCU WINS IF
VCU has has great success in turning GW over this season and hopefully that trend continues tonight. That’s step one. Step two is playing better halfcourt defense when they aren’t turning them over. The Colonials averaged 75.5 points in the two regular season games and shot over 52% in both games. It’s hard to win on a consistent basis when you allow your opponent to hit the majority of their attempts, so if the Rams can force GW to win ugly, that may bode well for VCU’s chances at playing in an A-10 Final for their second consecutive season since joining the league.
GW WINS IF
George Washington dominated the paint in VCU’s first meeting, getting 58 of the 76 points from bigs Isaiah Armwood, Kevan Larson and Patricio Garino (25 from Garino off the bench). Only six of those points — all from Garino — came from beyond the arch. If the Colonials are able to attack the basket with that same level of ease, it could be a long and disappointing night for the Rams.
Kenpom.com: 72-68 VCU win with an 65% chance of victory.
Vegas: VCU 5.5-point favorite to win.
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY.
Watch: CBS Sports Network. Official watch parties at Baja Bean Co. in the Fan as well as Buffalo Wild Wings locations at Virginia Center and downtown on Cary Street in Shockoe Bottom.
Live Tweets: @VCURamNation