Virginia Commonwealth Rams
Colonial Athletic Association
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Second Round loss to Pittsburgh
Coach: Anthony Grant (1-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
For one more postseason, this is the Eric Maynor show. VCU’s senior point guard has had an amazing career, including leading his team to an NCAA Tournament victory over Duke in 2007. With Maynor on the floor, the Rams can have high expectations and live up to them. The 6-3 point guard is involved in just about every play on the court. He is averaging 23.1 points per game and when he is not scoring, he finds his teammates with one of his 6.1 assists per game. Maynor is a capable long range shooter, but he does most of his scoring using his speed and quickness to get to the basket.
Fellow perimeter starters Joey Rodriguez and Bradford Burgess are more consistent outside shooters than Maynor. Of course they will not take as many attempts as Maynor, but when those three are firing on all cylinders, the Rams offense is tough to stop. Even bench players like Brandon Rozzell and Ed Nixon are capable scorers and shooters.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The biggest issue for VCU is the rebounding. The team’s rebounding margin on the season is in the red and this is a group that cannot afford to give up extra possessions. Sophomore Larry Sanders is a great interior scorer, a more than capable rebounder and a great defender, but he does not get too much help from the rest of the team in the rebounding department. Soon Larry Sanders will be headlining this team, but for now he has to hit the glass hard and try to neutralize the rebounding deficiencies. Kirill Pishchalnikov has had some solid games, but he is not much of a scorer and could be effective on the glass.
Who To Watch:
Maynor is the obvious superstar of this team, but he will need help from everybody else to pull off an upset or two. Sanders must continue to be a scoring threat in the paint. That will give all the shooters on the perimeter some open looks. That would leave it up to Rodriguez, Burgess and Rozzell to knock down some three-pointers. Rodriguez and Burgess are especially consistent shooters from outside and if they are given open looks, they should be able to knock down some of them. If they can do more than just knock down a shot here or there, the Rams offense will be a dynamic group that can put up a ton of points in a hurry.
Eric Maynor, Senior, Guard
Joey Rodriguez, Sophomore, Guard
Bradford Burgess, Freshman, Guard
Kirill Pishchalnikov, Junior, Forward
Larry Sanders, Sophomore, Forward
T.J. Gwynn, Junior, Forward
Ed Nixon, Sophomore, Guard
Brandon Rozzell, Sophomore, Guard
+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!