Wednesday, January 18, 2012
We intend to put it to better use this week.
The Wrens head to a sold out Siegel Center to take on a very talented VCU squad in a nationally televised game on Thursday (7:00 on ESPNU). For our money, the Rams are the CAA's best team (ignore, if you will, our ballot in the weekly CAA Bloggers Poll - the whole poll thing is new to us), deep, athletic, and battle tested. Perhaps you've heard of them.
VCU (13-5, 4-2) stumbled twice two weeks ago, losing tight games to Georgia State and Drexel, but bounced back to hammer James Madison and beat Delaware comfortably. The Rams lead the league in offensive efficiency (1.06 points/possession) while holding opponents to 0.89 ppp in conference play. (The Wrens, on the other hand, get a mediocre 0.90 ppp on offense and yield 1.03 ppp.) Shaka Smart's balanced offense is led by 6'6" senior wing Bradford Burgess, who averages 14.2 points per game. Six other Rams average between 6.3 and 9.9 ppg, making them a matchup nightmare.
The Rams' vaunted Havoc defense is designed to force opponents to start their offense from uncomfortable spots on the court - a recipe for trouble for a team like the Tribe that depends on discipline and spacing. Freshman guard Brionte Weber leads the nation in steal percentage, recording a swipe 7.35% of the time he's on the court.
We could go on. The Tribe heads into the raucous Siegel Center on the wrong end of just about every statistical measure, hoping to avoid a nationally broadcast thrashing. Keep it close, boys.
Tomorrow's game begins a 5-game-in-10-day gauntlet for Tony Shaver's squad, with a roadie against ODU pairing with the VCU trip as the bread around a UNCW, Drexel, and @JMU sandwich. (And that sentence standing alone as a pained metaphor.) Hoping for 2-3, worried about 0-5, and wondering where the Wrens will find the depth to make it through.
(I hope you see how we wielded our new power there.)