VCU came into the 2014 campaign as an Atlantic 10 top rated team and one that has caught the eyes of several top college basketball analysts. I, myself had them ranked as a potential sleeper for a run in March. I still do. One of the things that people need to realize is just how much things can change for November until March. UConn showcased this as the most current example. Just a few weeks before the March Madness tournament they were defeated resoundingly by Louisville.
A team can grow in a quick matter. All that matters come March is seeding and the path of teams they face to get there.
For current ATS bettors, you’ve been extremely unsatisfied with VCU. They have only won two games ATS, one against Oregon and the other against Tennessee. Overall that makes them 2-6 ATS. The reason for this has been three keys in my eyes.
1. Their pressure havoc defense has been halted by poor back line defense. Teams are zipping the ball past the first wave and finding easy strides to the hoop for layups. This has been accomplished thanks to the teams they have faced having above average backcourts. That won’t last the entire season and Shaka Smart will amend his havoc defense a bit.
2. VCU’s offense at times can be stagnant. Half court execution has been better over their last few games. On the bench freshman Terry Larier and Justin Tillman are getting more and more comfortable offensively—this has to translate to the Rams havoc defense. Also sophomores JeQuan Lewis and Doug Brooks showed last year they’re capable of rising to the occasion—they just need to be more consistent.
3. Free Throw Shooting– This is VCU’s main culprit in their woes. They’ve always been a poor free throw shooting team. Against Northern Iowa though it was the difference in VCU gaining a win. Treveon Graham went 6 for 6 from the line and the team as a whole shot the ball better than Northern Iowa from the free throw line.
4. Leadership–This team has Treveon Graham, junior Melvin Johnson, Mo Allie-Cox,Jordan Burgess and defensive specialist Briante Weber. They’ve played on teams that were represented by VCU players that went to the Elite 8 a few seasons ago. They showed last year in quick stretches this team can turn a close game into a blowout.