What to expect: VCU hosts Fairleigh Dickinson

VCU hosts Fairleigh Dickinson, their final opponent of 2012 on Saturday afternoon in the Siegel Center.

  • What: VCU (9-3, 0-0) vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (4-6, 0-0)
  • Where: Stuart C. Siegel Center
  • When: December 29th, at 4:00 PM
  • Watch: CBS 6.1 (Broadcast 6)
  • Listen: Rams Radio

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The Rundown

After an eventful 2012, Virginia Commonwealth University hosts their final opponent of a year filled with HAVOC!, a conference change, great games, a CAA Tournament championship, and a victory over Wichita St. in the NCAA Tournament. 2012 has had its share of marquee match ups, but Saturday afternoon will be more of a tune up than a classic battle. Fairleigh Dickinson, a program that hasn’t tallied double digit victories in a season since 2009-10 enters the game 4-6 after suffering back to back losses to Penn St. and Pitt.

The Team

Fairleigh Dickinson plays like a slower paced VMI. The Knights lack the size to effectively rebound or score frequently in the post, so they play a relatively quick game and attempt plenty of 3-pointers. They will enter Saturday as the second best 3-point shooting team in the country at an impressive 42.3% (Lehigh, VCU’s January 5th opponent ranks #1 at 44.4%).

Defensively, size is the Knight’s biggest problem. Ken Pomeroy lists their effective height at -3.5 inches (320th) while VCU, a team that thrives with undersized lineups is listed at +0.7 (122nd). Fairleigh Dickinson can’t defend the paint and they can’t rebound. They allow opponents to shoot 54.8% from 2-point range which ranks 340th nationally and their 27.8RPG also ranks 340th nationally.

Treveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic used their size and diverse scoring abilities to drop a combined 36 points on Longwood. After VCU established the inside, Troy Daniels had a career night from outside scoring 26 points and hitting seven 3-pointers. Coach Smart undoubtedly wants to continue to develop the inside-out game; a hallmark of VCU’s Final Four squad. Fairleigh Dickinson will give the Rams that opportunity. Look for Juvonte Reddic to take shots early and often as he out sizes and out muscles the opponent’s defenders which should give more 3-point opportunities to VCU’s guards.

The Star

While not their leading scorer, senior guard #23 Lonnie Robinson is playing the best basketball of his career. He is averaging 16.25PPG in the month of December while connecting on 9-12 (.750) 3-pointers. Robinson is averaging a ridiculous 36.3 minutes per game (15th nationally), but he likely won’t last that long against VCU’s tiring full court pressure. He can score from all over the court, and he could be the Knight’s best option when they get the ball into the half court. Unfortunately for Robinson, getting the ball past mid-court will be no easy feat against HAVOC!.

The Prediction

Fairleigh Dickinson will hit a few 3-pointers, but they lack the 2-point scoring and defense to keep this game competitive. Kenpom picks VCU to win 90-56 with a 99% chance of victory.

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Fairleigh Dickinson Profile

  • Location: Madison, NJ
  • Enrollment: 12,247
  • Conference: NEC
  • All time series: 1-1
  • Last meeting: 12/12/72. VCU won 63-47.

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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