back to HOT News

Virginia Commonwealth @ Virginia

by: Rich Salvatori @dickiesalvatori - posted on: 11-Nov-2013

These two teams could not be much more different when it comes to the pace at which they prefer to play. That factor, along with the rivalry potential these two programs now currently hold make this a very important and intriguing early season game. 

VCU has really come on as a program in the last several seasons. They have done so on the foundation of a frenetic style. While Shaka Smart's imprint on this bunch has been in the form of up tempo play, it is not his only contribution.

VCU has more athleticism in its program than ever before. Smart is going out and getting guys who both know how to and want to play in a system geared toward defense.

The issue with their defense has been that, if you can beat their pressure, you can score on them quite easily. The Rams actually ranked toward the bottom of the A-10 a season ago when it came to half court defense on possessions that did not result in a turnover prior to half court.

Virginia has an excellent and methodical half court offense that primarily revolves around Joe Harris. He is a 6'6, 225 pound shooting guard who can stroke it. He is also a senior who understands what his coaching staff wants of him. he is every bit as dangerous away from the ball because his movement and willingness to continually run off screens enables this offense to get easy buckets.

Creating higher percentage scoring opportunities is not something the Cavalier point guards can do with ease. They do not have what I would refer to as a proven lead ball handler, and that is going to trip them up somewhere along the line in the heavyweight ridden ACC.

But, for this game at least, the Cavaliers must simply protect the ball. Should their guards avoid turnovers in the back court, they won't have a problem dealing with smart's defense, especially given the fact that they have a size advantage down low. 

This number s right around 4 or 4.5. I had it at 3.5, but see limited value despite any minor discrepancy. I think the Cavaliers are the better side of this game, I'm just not completely sold on their guard play or overall offensive efficiency to take them in this spot in what could be a game that goes down to the wire.