Virginia Commonwealth University returns to the Atlantic 10 Tournament Finals where the Rams will face 2nd-seeded Dayton on Sunday at 1:00 PM on CBS.
1. Sunday is Coach Smart’s fifth consecutive conference tournament finals and third consecutive Atlantic 10 Tournament finals. VCU is 0-2 in the A-10 finals but the Rams topped Drexel in 2012 to cut down the nets in the CAA Tournament in Richmond. All-in-all, Coach Smart is an unbelievable 32-10 in the month of March.
2. Dayton beat VCU 59-55 on February 28th. Neither team was effective on offense but Jordan Sibert finished with 19 points (3-5 2PFG, 3-7 3PFG, 4-4 FT), 2 assists, and 0 turnovers and Kendall Pollard added 16 points. VCU only forced 8 turnovers.
After being dominated 82-55 by Davidson on March 5th, the Rams cruised past the Wildcats 93-73 on Saturday. That’s a 47 point swing in the course of 9 days. Coach Smart is 161-55 as a head coach. When refacing a team after the rare loss, he is 15-6 in the same season1. When the domain is expanded to include games in later seasons, Coach Smart is 30-7 in “revenge games.”
3. The Flyers only have six scholarship players and no player taller than 6-foot-6. HAVOC!’s full-court press could take its toll on Dayton, but Saint Joseph’s won the title last year using an almost non-existent rotation. The Rams must take advantage of their size. Mo Alie-Cox was dominant en route to 18 points and 9 rebounds on Saturday. If he can leverage his physical advantages, then the Rams can cut down the nets – fortunately he finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in the first meeting.
4. VCU rediscovered the pure joy of HAVOC! over the past two games. If they keep playing Aggressive, Confident, Loose (ACL) basketball, then it’s tough to imagine the Rams losing on Sunday. More importantly, after a month of ugly basketball, VCU is once again the most entertaining show on hardwood. There’s simply nothing like Doug(ie) “Buckets” Brooks launching 3-pointers, or Mo Alie-Cox jamming jams, or Briante Weber cutting up the sidelines with his dance moves, or VCU running-and-gunning their way to victory.
5. KenPom picks VCU to win 66-65 with a 54% chance of victory.
- 15-6 is below his career winning percentage of .751, but this is an impressive feat considering it is limited to teams that are capable of beating VCU in the first place. ↩