- Nov 2, 2013
VCU VS ALL
I was talking to someone the other day about the teams issue with rebounding. My friend reminded me of Sonny who once said, Rebounding!? If we could shoot the darn ball we wouldn't need to rebound!"lets see what Friday brings
Feel like taking a realistic look/guess at the schedule. Anyone who'd care to take a stab at the schedule themselves, I'd be curious to see what you all think happens.
Game 1: Grambling State - This isn't Liberty, an underrated low/mid-major full of 40% three-point shooters, this is on paper a classic buy game against a team that not only struggled both offensively and defensively last season, but a team that did so as the 46th most experienced team in the country. They'll have less experience and as VCU's home opener should be yet another tuneup for the real tests. Predicted outcome: Win 1-0
Game 2: North Florida - The Ospreys will come to the Siegel Center for their third game in four days, coming off road matchups with both Michigan State and Michigan. That's not only a brutal stretch of games, but an exhausting travel schedule and one that should benefit VCU greatly in this matchup. Kenpom gives VCU a 94% chance of winning this one at home and it's hard to argue with that considering UNF's success (or lack of success) this past season combined with their roster losses and the aforementioned start to their schedule. Predicted outcome: Win 2-0
Game 3: Virginia - First things first: hat tip to Tony Bennett for schedule his second home-and-home with the Rams. For years the state's power conference representatives avoided VCU like the plague, so you have to respect Bennett for scheduling this game. Getting to the game, this is an interesting one, as the Wahoos, like VCU, have to replace a ton of production/key pieces. Regardless of who fills all those holes, UVA is in many ways like Liberty on steroids. They play a pack line defense like Liberty, but are the prime example of what that is supposed to look like. Tony Bennett-coached teams have ranked top-10 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency eight of his 12 seasons as a DI hoops coach. For that reason, like kenpom's prediction that gives the Rams just a 25% chance to win this, a realist would probably pencil in a loss here. Predicted outcome: Loss 2-1
Game 4: Marquette - The Golden Eagles lose three of their top-five scorers but return some very talented pieces from last season's eighth most efficient offense including leading scorer Markus Howard. While Marquette thrived offensively, they struggled on the other end of the floor, ranking 241st nationally in effective field goal percentage defense. This one has the makings of a shootout and is a game VCU can win but will be predicted to lose (Rams given a 32% chance by kenpom). Predicted outcome: Loss 2-2
Game 5: California - If VCU is to knock off Marquette they'd be most likely matched up with preseason top-10 team, Wichita State. The numbers however suggest a VCU v California second round Maui matchup, a program, like VCU, who had an offseason coaching change. That change combined with the early departure of Ivan Rabb to the NBA means the Bears take a step back this season behind first year DI head coach Wyking Jones. Kenpom predicts Cal as the No.101 preseason ranked team, meaning on paper VCU would be the favorite. Predicted outcome: Tossup 3-2 or 2-3
Game 6: LSU or Chaminade - Losing to Marquette in Maui's game-1 would move VCU into the losers bracket and an almost guaranteed matchup with Cal. On the other side o the bracket you can pencil in Notre Dame over DII host Chaminade and likely pencil in Michigan over Will Wade's rebuilding of last season's last place SEC team: LSU. That means if VCU loses to Marquette then beats Cal they likely face their former coach and his new Tigers, but if they lose their first two games are playing the DII host to try and avoid the worst Maui Invitational outcome imaginable. Likely outcomes: Best case is a win over LSU 4-2 or with a loss to California after a predicted loss to Marquette, a win over Chaminade and exit at 3-3. That means they could obviously also Lose to LSU and have two solid shots at leaving Maui with a 3-3 overall record.
Likely record through six games: 4-2 or 3-3 - Even if VCU defeats Marquette in Round 1 of Maui they'd be major underdogs the rest of the way (v Wichita State and Notre Dame or Michigan), meaning a 3-3 finish if they end up in the winners bracket after game-1.
Game 7: Appalachian State - These dudes return everyone from a bad team. Kenpom has VCU winning by 12 and I don't see an upset here. Predicted outcome: Win 5-2 or 4-3.
Game 8: Old Dominion - The Rams either come into this one either 5-2 or 4-3, but either way face an ODU team that led VCU at the half last season by 6. The Monarchs return their three top scorers from that game and I think have a decent shot as entering that game as the Vegas favorite even though kenpom currently has us a 4-point favorite. Obviously both those lines will change with each team's start to the season. Predicted outcome: Tossup 6-2 or 4-4
Game 9: Texas - Two young teams with similar styles. One will rely on a more experienced starting group (us) while the other an on-paper more talented group (Texas). Kenpom has us losing by 3 and despite the Horns' 11-22 finish last season, I think Vegas may have them the favorite as well. Predicted outcome: Another Tossup 7-2 or 4-5.
Game 10: Seton Hall - Road game against a preseason top-30 kenpom team that returns basically everyone from last season. Predicted outcome: Loss 7-3 or 4-6
Game 11: Bucknell - 26-win team from last season that ranked 20th in the country in effective field goal percentage, lost to WVU in the first round by just 6 points. Sound the f'ing alarm, this is one of those home games the casual fan won't respect but the folks who are paying attention fear greatly. We're a 2-point kenpom home favorite which is about as good as picking them to win. Predicted outcome: Tossup 8-3 or 4-7
Game 12: Winthrop - Another upset alert game but a team that, like us, lost a solid bit of production including 22.3 ppg scorer, Keon Johnson. Last year's version of Winthrop whipped the Liberty team that gave us trouble last year and smoked us at our place this season, not to mention beat the Illinois team that crushed us. On the flip side though they lost to a Dayton team we beat. One of the better young coaches in the game, I think this could be a very tough game because while they lose some key players, they have a coach who's got his guys in and has been consistently good since he turned them back around. Predicted outcome: Tossup 9-3 or 4-8
Game 13: VMI - One of the worst teams in college hoops last season and scheduled to be one of the worst this year as well. Predicted outcome: Win 10-3 or 5-8
So there ya go, there's my range. 10-3 as a killer start to the season or 5-8 as a rough start. Taking it a step further, If I had to bet the mortgage on those tossup games, based off what I've seen so far, I'd probably lean this way.
Tossup game guesses
VCU v Cal - Win
VCU v LSU - Win
VCU v ODU - Loss
VCU v Tex - Loss
VCU v Bucknell - Loss
VCU v Winthrop - Win
Which would put us at 7-6 heading into Atlantic 10 play. I think we could take one of those ODU/Bucknell games though, but could also see us losing a Cal/LSU game, which makes me feel like a 7-6 non-conference start could be our fate, 8-5 maybe a realistic best-case scenario (9-4 tops, and we'd be partying hard and dreaming NCAA tourney then).
Am I hoping for 7-6? heck no. Just posting that that is my realistic expectation based off what we're working with currently and what I saw against Liberty (plus going against a BRUTAL schedule). Love our team and hoping we gel quickly and really surprise some folks, including myself. I think Coach Rhoades' team has that ability to do that.
Hard for me to be disappointed with the OOC. I don’t think anyone predicted more than 9 wins and certainly no one factored two of our top six players would miss time. We would most likely be 9-4 and possibly 10-3 without injury.So 8-5 it was.
After the Liberty game, I think we can chalk 8-5 up as a solid victory considering all the turnover and injuries.
I think we've also seen that this team has the POTENTIAL to be really good and we've yet to see things totally click. The A-10 schedule on paper is considerably easier than the non-conference, so I'm looking forward to seeing how we gel during conference play.
Pretty much what I expected although I had hoped to pick off one of the big four. Given the injuries, it just wasn't in the cards.Hard for me to be disappointed with the OOC. I don’t think anyone predicted more than 9 wins and certainly no one factored two of our top six players would miss time. We would most likely be 9-4 and possibly 10-3 without injury.