Game Preview: VCU v East Tennessee State

[caption id="attachment_13610" align="alignright" width="200"]<a href=""><img class="size-medium wp-image-13610" src="" alt="Former Ram, Troy Daniels, hit a VCU record 11 three-pointers the last time VCU played ETSU." width="200" height="300" /></a> Former Ram, Troy Daniels, hit a VCU record 11 three-pointers the last time VCU played ETSU.[/caption]

VCU returns to the Siegel Center after a road rout of the Cincinnati Bearcats and is looking for the Rams' first four-game winning streak of this young season. The black and gold welcome the Bucs of ETSU to Richmond in a return game of a 109-58 road rout the Rams laid on East Tennessee back in January of 2013. This Bucs team is significantly better than the squad Troy Daniels hit 11 three-pointers on that season and are off to a 6-2 start of their own including a tough road win over an Eastern Kentucky team who blew out Miami by 28 points following their loss to ETSU.

VCU (8-3)
ETSU (6-2)[/HEADING=3]

Ok this is going to be the quickest look ever. I run a retail store outside of this so my life has been madness, but I'm taking some time to squeeze you, the Ram fans, into my busy workday (just barely). Long story short, ETSU is much-improved from the team the Rams clobbered a couple of seasons ago. The biggest deference? The Bucs are a lot better on offense (104.2 adjusted offensive efficiency versus 95.6 in 2014), in particularly from range. They have three deep-ball threats, seniors Jalen Riley (44.4% on the season) and Rashawn Rembert (41.9%) as well as junior Lester Wilson (40.7%). Rembert and Wilson have also been really good at turning not turning the ball over. Riley leads the team in scoring at 20 ppg while Rembert checks in at 17.9%. "Cool Mat, they are better at chucking threes, but ..but.. .but what are they bad at?". Well I'll tell you. ETSU has made the deep ones but struggled to hit the close ones. Their biggest weakness however this season has been on the defensive side of the ball.  The Bucs rank 272nd nationally on D allowing teams to hit an effective field goal percentage of 54.3% against them. Killer.

VCU arguably played their best game against a good team in clobbering Cincinnati on the road. The defense has been much-improved since falling to UVA and guys are starting to make shots. Two top-100 wins and a domination of No.113 Belmont so the competition has been solid as well. VCU has played a deep bench as of late and has seen a lot of improvement from the younger players in particular. Big Mo, JeQuan, Doug and the freshmen foursome appear to be catching a groove. That is bad news for everyone else.

Scoring Offense: <span style="color: #ff0000;">ETSU 81.9, VCU 76.1</span>
Scoring Defense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 67.9, ETSU 74.7</span>
Effective Field Goal% Offense: <span style="color: #ff0000;">ETSU 51.8%,</span><span style="color: #ff0000;"> VCU 50.9%</span>
Effective Field Goal% Defense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 52.5%, ETSU 54.3%</span>
3-Point Field Goal%: <span style="color: #ff0000;">ETSU 41.4%, VCU 36.4%</span>
3-Point Field Goal% Defense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 38.1%, ETSU 38.3%</span>
Rebounds per game: <span style="color: #ff0000;">ETSU 37.8, VCU 35.8</span>
Turnover Percentage Defense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 24.9%, ETSU 21.6%</span>
Turnover Percentage Offense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 15.8%, ETSU 17.1%</span>

See above. VCU needs to D the three. ETSU lives by the three more than any other team in D1 college hoops. 46.3% of their points come from behind the arc while just 29.4% come inside it. That's No.1 nationally and No.351 nationally, in order. Can ETSU win without the three? Time to find out.

They hit the threes on a bad shooting night for VCU. The three-ball is the great equalizer in college hoops and it's something the Bucs have done darn well this season. It's the shot that allowed VCU to go from First 4 to Final 4, so if the Rams can string together a Final 4 run behind the power of the mighty three-ball, there is certainly no reason why ETSU can't win one game on a rainy Monday night with it.

Kenpom: 86-68 Rams win with a 94% chance of a VCU victory.
Vegas: VCU a 17.5-point favorite

Game tips at 7PM at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, Richmond, VA.

Watch: CSN+, 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.
Listen: <a title="FM 107.3" href="">107.3FM</a>
Live Tweets:¬†<a title="@VCURamNation" href="">@VCURamNation</a>​

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Licensed Virginia Realtor and part-time basketball writer. Co-founder of and
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Mat Shelton-Eide
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