Previewing VCU v SFA, by the numbers

[caption id="attachment_11888" align="alignright" width="300"]<a href=""><img class="size-medium wp-image-11888" alt="VCU will look to halt Stephen F Austin's 28-game winning streak on Friday while hopefully starting one of their own." src="" width="300" height="199" /></a> VCU will look to halt Stephen F Austin's 28-game winning streak on Friday while hopefully starting one of their own.[/caption]
VCU will take on Stephen F Austin out of the Southland conference this Friday in a 5 v 12 matchup in the round of 64 of this year's NCAA tournament. SFA and their gaudy 28-game winning streak have made them a popular pick by some pundits while VCU looks to win their round of 64 game for the fourth consecutive season. Some numbers for you to study until Friday's big test.
Stephen F Austion (31-2, 18-0)<br />
VCU (26-8, 12-4)<br />
Kenpom ranking: <span style="color: #000000;">13 VCU, 55 SFA</span><br />
RPI: <span style="color: #000000;">13 VCU, 52 SFA</span><br />
Strength of Schedule: <span style="color: #000000;">27 VCU, 297 SFA</span>
Scoring Offense: <span style="color: #ff0000;">SFA 76.5, VCU 75.4</span><br />
Scoring Defense: <span style="color: #ff0000;">SFA 62.6, VCU 64.9</span><br />
Effective Field Goal% Offense: <span style="color: #ff0000;">SFA 52.4%, VCU 47.8%</span><br />
Effective Field Goal% Defense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 47.5%, SFA 50.2%</span><br />
3-Point Field Goal%: <span style="color: #ff0000;">SFA 35.2%, VCU 34.9%</span><br />
3-Point Field Goal% Defense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 30.1%, SFA 34.8%</span><br />
Rebounds per game: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 37.9, SFA 33.8</span><br />
Turnover Percentage Defense: <span style="color: #339966;">VCU 25.6%, SFA 24.4%</span><br />
Turnover Percentage Offense: <span style="color: #ff0000;">SFA 16.8%, VCU 17.2%</span>

PG - <span style="color: #000000;">Briante Weber 6'2</span> 165 v Trey Pikney 5'9 160<br />
SG - Rob Brandenberg 6'2 190 v DeShaunt Walker 6'0 170<br />
G/F - Jordan Burgess 6'5 215 v Desmond Haymon 6'3 190<br />
G/F - Treveon Graham 6'6 220 v Thomas Walkup 6'4 195<br />
F/C - Juvonte Reddic 6'9 250 v Jacob Parker 6'6 210
Key reserves<br />
VCU - JeQuan Lewis 6'1 175 PG, Mo Alie-Cox 6'6 250 F/C, Melvin Johnson (doubtful)<br />
SFA - Nikola Gajic 6'5 200 G/F (starts but has played fewer minutes than Walker as of late), Tanner Clayton 6'9 210

Offense: Both teams score roughly 50% of their points from 2. SFA gets 28.3% of their points from the deep ball while VCU gets 29.7%. SFA gets 21.4% of their points from the free throw line while VCU gets 20.1% of their scoring at the stripe. VCU plays at a much faster pace on offense with an adjusted tempo of 70.7 (21st nationally) to SFA's 63.6 (303).
Defense: Both teams play mostly man defense. 56% of the points scored on VCU are inside the arch versus 53.7% of SFA's. 22.3% of the points scored on VCU are from long range to 19.8% for SFA. 26.5% of points scored on SFA are from the free throw line to 21.7% for VCU.
Fouls: SFA averages 20.9 fouls per game to 19.5 for VCU.

Stephen F Austin<br />
SFA v Kenpom top-100: 0-1<br />
Avg top-100 opponent rank: 37<br />
Avg margin of victory: -10
SFA v Kenpom 100-200: 9-0<br />
Avg 100-200 ranking: 170.7<br />
Avg margin of victory: +10.2
SFA v Kenpom below 200: 22-1<br />
Avg below 200 ranking: 287.3 (+2 wins over non-D1 teams)<br />
Avg margin of victory: +16.3
VCU<br />
VCU v Kenpom top-100: 10-8<br />
Avg top-100 opponent rank: 57.6<br />
Avg margin of victory: +3.7
VCU v Kenpom 100-200: 12-0<br />
Avg 100-200 ranking: 148.4<br />
Avg margin of victory: +17.75
VCU v Kenpom below 200: 4-0<br />
Avg below 200 ranking: 208.5<br />
Avg margin of victory: +17.3

Kenpom ranking: A-10 8, Southland 28<br />
Conference RPI: A-10 6, Southland 27

For starters, like SFA, I know what it's like to have your team disrespected. Our Rams are the No.5 seed out of a conference that just sent six teams to the dance and we -- both team and conference -- are still fighting for respect (Hi, Coach K). VCU fans all know how powerful that chip is. Our Rams took a Chris Paul led Wake Forest team to the brink as a 13 seed, losing 79-78 in Raleigh in 2004. We then upset Duke before falling to Pitt in OT just three seasons later as an 11 seed, were an Eric Maynor miss away from upsetting a UCLA team led by a pair of NBA guards in 2009, and well, we all know what happened in 2011. Even the season after that we were an underdog once again, upsetting Wichita State on this very same seed line. Moral of the story? I respect SFA, what they've done, what they can do, and I root for the teams like them fighting the fight to make the rise through the ranks in the same fashion as VCU. I haven't forgotten where we came from. I also don't look past them and know just how powerful the magic of March is. This article however is an objective look at the numbers, and quite frankly, those numbers look good for VCU. Feel free to draw your own conclusions -- and at your own risk -- but for me, the fact that VCU has scored just 1.1 less points per game (basically a free throw), while giving up only 2.3 more points to opponents (a basket), but have done so against a schedule that ranks some 270 spots higher than the Lumberjacks, is a pretty powerful stat.

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Mat Shelton-Eide
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