Scouting VCU: How To Beat The Rams?

BillikenReport.com spoke with an Atlantic 10 coach that has faced VCU this season and got the low-down on what to expect from the Rams. The coach was granted anonymity in order to share his honest opinions on a variety of subjects.


When you first looked at VCU when you broke down their tape, what stuck out most to you?

"The biggest thing and it doesn't take a genius to figure out, if you want a chance, you can't turn the ball over. They were No. 1 in the country at one time in turnover percentage defense. You have to make them play halfcourt defense. You have a chance of scoring against them in the halfcourt and rebounding against them, but that's easier said than done. They play so many guys and come at you in waves. Saint Louis has great guards. Jett, McCall, and those guys. You can score against [VCU] if you take care of the ball."

What's one glaring weakness for VCU?

"I would say -- I think last time I checked they were getting outrebounded on the year. And like I said, their halfcourt defense...I think you can run some things against it. You're not going to be able to run a bunch of sets and reverse the ball four or five times, but SLU has guards that can score. Jett is one of the best at the country at getting into the paint and scoring."

Who were you most concerned about beating you?

"[Treveon] Graham is their go-to guy. When they win and play well, he plays well. When the kid doesn't play well, you have a chance against them. He can do a little bit of everything. He's a good three-point shooter, he can put it down, he draws fouls, he uses ball screens. He offensive rebounds. He's kind of a mismatch nightmare."

Juvonte Reddic is a difficult guy to handle. How are teams best equipped to stop him?

"You have to be physical with him. At one time I think he was getting 3.5, 4 offensive rebounds a game. That's a ridiculous number. One thing you have in Saint Louis is that Rob Loe has legit size. You can't give him angles."

Who's the X-Factor on this VCU team?

"Melvin Johnson is the X-Factor. He is a really, really good three-point shooter. He's a prolific scorer. He's getting 14 or 15 per game now which is scary because you know Graham and Reddic are going to get theirs."

With Troy Daniels missing from this team, has Johnson filled that role?

"It's similar. I don't know if he's quite the shooter Daniels was. Daniels was ridiculous. I haven't thought about it, but that's a pretty good analogy."

What stuck out to you postgame that you weren't expecting?

"We couldn't keep them out of the paint. Their guards in the halfcourt.  They kept doing ball screens and dribble handoffs in the half court and we just couldn't stop them. They attack downhill at such a fast pace and they were constantly in the paint. Driving and kicking."

What do you tell your guards when they're preparing to face the HAVOC defense?

"You do some 6-on-5 in the frontcourt. You can't really do it once you've reached halfcourt, but you definitely will practice that in the frontcourt."

How could you describe Briante Weber's defense?

"It's ridiculous. He's as good as anybody in the country in 1-on-1 defense. When we played them he was leading the NCAA in steals. He's one of the only guys in the country that can get 10 steals in a game. He's one of the best at gobbling you up."

What do you expect out of this game?

"This is going to be a heck of a game. SLU plays less guys, but VCU is going to play 9 or 10. They will get after you, but SLU has the guys to keep up with them. They will need to play major minutes though and take care of the ball. . .this is a game I would spend $50 to watch."


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