Game Preview: VCU v Davidson on Senior Night [INSIDER]
VCU welcomes Jack Gibbs and the Davidson Wildcats to the Siegel Center in a Senior Night game day with major A-10 implications. The Rams are currently tied atop the conference at 12-4 with the Hawks of Saint Joseph’s but own first place thanks to a head-to-head tie-breaking road win in Philly earlier this season. The black and gold would remain in first with a win tonight and can virtually lock up the A-10’s No.1 seed with a little help tonight from the St. Bonaventure Bonnies who take on the Hawk’s tonight. The Rams defeated Davidson once already this season, winning in the Cats’ Belk Arena, 79-69. A completed season sweep tonight would work wonders for the Rams’ post-season aspirations while also sending Melvin Johnson and Korey Billbury out in Siegel Center style.
VCU (21-8, 12-4)
DAVIDSON (17-10, 9-7)
A QUICK LOOK AT DAVIDSON
Last year’s regular season champ had some trouble recovering from the loss of 2015 A-10 Player of the Year Tyler Kalinoski but have picked up some momentum through the month of February, winning five of their last seven games. That stretch included a three-game winning streak against kenpom top-100s Richmond, Saint Joseph’s and Rhode Island but was snapped with a road loss at Fordham. The Wildcats are 2-6 in Atlantic 10 road games this season thanks largely in part to a defense that has struggled to stop teams all season long. Led by leading scorer Jack Gibbs (24.8 ppg), McKillop’s squad has the second most efficient Atlantic 10 offense but the third worst D. Davidson shot more threes (31) than twos (27) in their last meeting against VCU and were bludgeoned in the paint, allowing the Rams to hit 54.2% of their 48 shots inside the arc, including 28 combined points from Mo Alie-Cox and Justin Tillman. Davidson hasn’t quite lived up to preseason expectations but come to Richmond tonight as a dangerous team fighting for a higher A-10 seed, currently at sixth but hoping to track down George Washington for the No.5 seed. Those two will finish the regular season with a head-to-head matchup on Saturday.
A QUICK LOOK AT VCU
The Rams picked up a HUGE road win at George Washington on Saturday but will need to avoid a letdown tonight to remain in control of their own A-10 destiny. VCU is the No.1 Atlantic 10 team as of now and has a number of scenarios that could carry them to the conference’s top seed. Would a No.1 A-10 finish be enough to propel them into an NCAA at-large bid should they need it? Tough to say. But the black and gold won’t want to leave their fate in the hands of a committee and that starts with a win over Davidson tonight. On the season VCU has been their best when scoring over 75 points, going 16-0 in those contests. They’ll play a Cats squad that allows an average of 78.4 tonight. On the other hand the Rams had struggled all season winning ugly but managed to pick up the GW win despite scoring just 69 points, just their second win of the season with fewer than 70 points (2-5 on the year). Tonight’s matchup would suggest more of a shootout and that could benefit VCU. The Rams have opted for smaller lineups as of late, getting career-high minutes from sophomore point guard Johnny Williams who scored a career-high 17 points in the win in DC. Williams played just two minutes in VCU’s previous win over Davidson so it will be interesting to see Will Wade’s plan of attack tonight.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Scoring Offense: DAV 80.2, VCU 77.2
Scoring Defense: VCU 67.2, DAV 78.4
Effective Field Goal% Offense: DAV 52.5%, VCU 51.8%
Effective Field Goal% Defense: VCU 49.4%, GW 52.3%
3-Point Field Goal%: VCU 37.8%, DAV 36%
3-Point Field Goal% Defense: DAV 35.1%, VCU 35.3%
Rebounds per game: VCU 36.6, DAV 35.3
Turnover Percentage Defense: VCU 23.3%, DAV 16.2%
Turnover Percentage Offense: DAV 14.4%, VCU 16.8%
VCU WINS IF
The Rams have a great chance of winning this game if they can dominate the paint. VCU hit 13 more shots inside the arc than Davidson in their last meeting and owned the glass to the tune of a 19-rebound advantage. Another night like that and the Rams are playing Saturday for an A-10 regular season title, their first since joining the conference.
DAVIDSON WINS IF
If they can string together some stops. The Wildcats scored 82 points this past weekend at Fordham…and lost. It was their third loss this season in a game where they scored 80 or more points. Davidson’s offense can keep them in almost any game but their defense more often than not forces that offense to be on point night in and night out. I repeat, VCU is 16-0 when scoring 75 or more points. Davidson will need to figure out a way to limit VCU’s offense if they want to spoil VCU’s Senior Night tonight.
Kenpom: 86-75 VCU win with an 83% chance of a Rams victory.
Game tips at 7PM at the Stuart C. Siegel Center in Richmond, VA
Watch: CBS Sports Network, Official watch parties at Buffalo Wild Wings locations at Virginia Center and downtown on Cary Street in Shockoe Bottom.
Live Tweets: @VCURamNation