#22 VCU Rams: College Basketball 111 in 1111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The transition to the Atlantic 10 Conference was smooth for Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams.  Their “wreaking havoc” style of basketball and solid core of returning players has them the favorite to win the A-10 this season.

VCU RAMS
Last Season: 2nd, 12-4 in CAA, 27-9 overall
Predicted A-10 Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Juvonte Reddic (Sr)/Terrence Shannon (Sr)/Jarred Guest (Jr)/Antravious Simmons (Fr)/Mo Alie-Cox (Fr)
G/F: Treveon Graham (Jr)
G/F: Jordan Burgess (Fr)/Melvin Johnson (So)
SG: Rob Brandenberg (Sr)/Doug Brooks (Fr)/Jarius Lyles (Fr)
PG: Briante Weber (Jr)/JeQuan Lewis (Fr)

Gone: SG-Troy Daniels, PG-Darius Theus, F/C-David Hinton, G-Teddy Okereafor (transfer-Rider), C-D.J. Haley (transfer-USC), PF-Justin Tuoyo (transfer-Chatanooga)

2013-2014 Outlook:
VCU finished 11th in the nation in scoring so their up-tempo style of play will once again key their success.  The team’s top point scorer is back in Treveon Graham who oftens plays the role of power forward in Smart’s frequent four guard line-up.  Rob Brandenberg also returns and is not only a capable scorer in his own right, but also epitomizes what Smart looks for in a quick, defensive nuisance at guard.

The Rams lose three-point sniper Troy Daniels and point guard Darius Theus but have capable replacement.  Briante Weber backed Theus up last year and will assume the role of floor general.  He isn’t a great scorer but is a pest of an on the ball defender.  Jordan Burgess missed all of last season because he was academically ineligible but is an extremely talented wing who figures to start if Smart does go with a four guard look.  His game is similar to his brother’s, former Ram Bradford Burgess, in that he is aggressive and can do a little bit of everything on the floor.

Melvin Johnson will be the first guard off the bench and provides scoring punch.  A trio of freshmen, JeQuan Lewis, Doug Brooks, and Jarius Lyles figure to battle for playing time as well as Smart should go deep into his bench to keep his team as fresh as possible which can be difficult to do with their fast-paced style of play.

The anchor of the frontcourt returns in Juvonte Reddic.  He brings physicality in the paint, athleticism in the open floor, and an inside/outside ability on the offensive end.  The addition of Florida State transfer Terrence Shannon gives VCU another capable low post presence who could end up starting if Smart decides to use more of a standard looking line-up.  Reserve Jarred Guest is back while Mo Alie-Cox suits up this year after having to sit all of last season because he was academically ineligible.  Freshman Antravious Simmons gives the Rams another post option but is likely the odd man out of the rotation.

The VCU Rams have established themselves as one of the premiere mid-major programs in the country and as long as they keep Smart around, that won’t change anytime soon.  They get the edge over La Salle and St. Louis as favorites in the A-10 and with their up-tempo play, are a team that nobody will want to see in the NCAA Tournament.

Player to Watch: Treveon Graham
The 6-6 wing more than doubled his scoring a year ago and should be a candidate for A-10 Player of the Year.  He is the team’s top three-point threat and with the Rams losing Daniels, Graham needs to be even more of a threat from the outside.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/12 at Virginia
11/21 vs. Florida State (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/22 vs. Michigan/Long Beach State (Puerto Rico Tip-off)
11/23 vs. Georgetown/Northeastern/Kansas State/Charlotte (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
12/3 at Belmont
12/14 at Northern Iowa
12/21 vs. Virginia Tech (at Richmond Coliseum)
12/28 vs. Boston College (in Brooklyn)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#23 New Mexico
#24 UConn
#25 Indiana
#26 Colorado
#27 Tennessee
#28 Baylor
#29 St. John’s
#30 Harvard
#31 UCLA
#32 Iowa
#33 Boise State
#34 Villanova
#35 Oregon
#36 St. Louis
#37 La Salle
#38 San Diego State
#39 Stanford
#40 Arizona State
#41 BYU
#42 Pitt
#43 California
#44 Iowa State
#45 Providence
#46 Cincinnati
#47 UNLV
#48 Purdue
#49 LSU
#50 Illinois
#51 Xavier
#52 Boston College
#53 Ole Miss
#54 Missouri
#55 Washington
#56 Saint Mary’s
#57 Maryland
#58 Butler
#59 Minnesota
#60 Florida Gulf Coast
#61 Akron
#62 Temple
#63 Alabama
#64 Florida State
#65 Arkansas
#66 N.C. State
#67 Kansas State
#68 Davidson
#69 Dayton
#70 Miami FL
#71 SMU
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#74 UMass
#75 Northwestern
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma
#79 Richmond
#80 Manhattan
#81 Belmont
#82 Texas
#83 Houston
#84 Washington State
#85 Iona
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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