It's snowing in Auburn Hills. It's snowing in Richmond. That has to mean something, right?
Yeah, 10:00pm is usually my bedtime. We settle in for a little Ryan Nobles and the local news gang, and if my eyelids can make it to 10:15 it's a late night. That clock setting will come and go before tonight's tipoff against Akron, and it will be Friday before the game ends.
That makes for a very llloooonnnnnggggggg day (and night). We all need something to pass the time, to read and keep our juices flowing as the other Thursday games and meals come and go. So what I've done below is cobble that reading, as well as a bunch of statistics (thanks Scott), for you to chew on to keep you sated.
First, this is an awesome article from Matt Brown, who writes for Sports on Earth (USAToday). Brown professes his love to VCU basketball and encourages America to "join the fight against boring basketball."
Brown also notes that: "Their coach, their players, their fans, their pep band - they all appear to be having more fun than everyone else." The world is discovering what are privileged to live every day.
Here's the Washington Times and very talented writer Nate Fenno with an update on Joey Rodriguez. This is very well done.
And 'round about the :48 second mark, Akron's Andre Cornelius Zeke Marshall guarantees a Zips victory.
And now, a cacophony of numbers. Where I have a little bit of extra thinking, I've (added in italics and parentheses). Enjoy!
- Other than senior night, when David Hinton started for Rob Brandenberg, VCU has had the same starting lineup since the first A10 conference game on January 6. (Rotations are solid and the synthesis and expectations are important in a tournament setting. This means more than you think.)
- This is the second time in VCU history its made three straight NCAA tournaments. The Rams have made five of the last seven Big Dances.
- Tournament time is Havoc Time. VCU is 20-5 in postseason tournaments under Shaka Smart. That's 9-3 in conference tournaments, 5-0 in the CBI, and 6-2 in the NCAA tournament. (I've seen this up close and personal for three years. It's not possible for anyone to be as prepared as this coaching staff--all of them. It isn't coincidence that VCU has a sparkling postseason record.)
- VCU is 2-0 as a five seed playing against the 12 seed.
- VCU has won a game in eight of its 11 NCAA tournament appearances. (This is pretty cool, no?)
- The Rams are 26-1 when forcing 15 or more turnovers. (And the one was the A10 final against St. Louis.)
- VCU is 16-0 when Rob Brandenberg scores 11 or more points. (Turn the corner, slash to the rim, and drop one on top of folks. We talk about the emotion of havoc's defense, but the emotional lift the entire team gets when Rob completes one of these rim runs is palpable.)
- The Rams are 12-0 when Troy Daniels hits four or more threes, and 19-2 when he scores nine or more points. (This is why VCU opponents almost turn the game into four-on-four. Nobody wants Daniels firing long range strikes.)
- Interestingly, VCU has a better record when it is outrebounded (13-1) than when it wins the war of the glass (12-6). (Don't stress about rebounding. The only time it matters is if the Rams are giving up a lot of offensive rebounds.)
- Entering this Akron game, VCU has used 256 different lineup combinations. (The scorer's table looks more like a subway stop. Plus, it has be disheartening when you are totally gassed and look over to the scorer's table and fresh legs--Weber, Johnson, Guest--are waiting to check in.)
- Juvonte Reddic needs 12 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
- VCU has won 19 straight games when it hits double-figures three-pointers. (Duh.)
Okay, now what do I do?