#50 VCU Rams: College Basketball 111 in 111


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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

After their Cinderella run to the Final Four last season, part of me has a really hard time ranking the VCU Rams this low.  They seem ready to emerge as a yearly, dangerous mid-major team as long as Shaka Smart is running the show.  However, with four starters gone from last year, VCU has to replace a lot of experience.

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VCU RAMS
Last Season: 4th, 12-6 in CAA, 28-12 overall
Predicted CAA Finish: 3rd

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: D.J. Haley (So)/David Hinton (Jr)
PF: Juvonte Reddic (So)/Heath Houston (Fr)/Jarred Guest (Fr)
G/F: Bradford Burgess (Sr)/Reco McCarter (Fr)/Treveon Graham (Fr)
SG: Rob Brandenberg (So)/Troy Daniels (Jr)/Briante Weber (Fr)
PG: Darius Theus (Jr)/Teddy Okereafor (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Jamie Skeen, PG-Joey Rodriguez, SG-Brandon Rozell, SG-Ed Nixon, F-Toby Veal (transfer)

2011-2012 Outlook:
Bradford Burgess is the only returning starter from a year ago.  He finished second on the team in scoring and rebounding, and was also the team’s top three-point threat.  Burgess will have to take on an even bigger role this season as both a scorer and leader.  Redshirt freshman Reco McCarter and true freshman Treveon Graham will battle to back-up Burgess.

With Joey Rodriguez, Brandon Rozell, and Ed Nixon all gone, Smart is in search of answers in his backcourt.  Rob Brandernberg was a key reserve as a freshman and showed off his scoring ability when given significant minutes.  He will have an expanded role this season as he figures to flank Burgess on the wing.

Darius Theus will likely assume the starting point guard position.  He saw quality playing time last season but is more of a distributor than scorer.  Freshman Teddy Okereafor will push Theus for minutes and should be able to make an immediate impact.

The frontcourt competition seems to be wide open with the losses of Jamie Skeen and Toby Veal.  Smart used a four-guard starting line-up for most of last season with Burgess playing the four, but figures to slide Burgess to the small forward spot and start a pair of true post players.

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Seven-footer D.J. Haley and Juvonte Reddic were role players last year but are the early favorites to win starting spots.  They offer good size inside but can they replace Skeen’s scoring ability?  David Hinton played sparingly and should factor into the mix along with redshirt freshman Heath Houston.  True freshman Jarred Guest a is more versatile forward who could offer Smart a different look.

From Eric Maynor to Larry Sanders to last year’s tourney run; VCU has cemented its status on the national map.  It appears that as long as Shaka is on board, the Rams will compete for the CAA Championship and be in the NCAA Tournament picture.  That should be the case this year despite all the pieces to replace.

Player to Watch: Rob Brandeberg
One of the biggest questions for Smart is figuring out who will emerge as the second scorer behind Burgess.  Besides Brandenberg’s ability to get buckets, he is also a solid defender exemplified by his game-clinching block in the NCAA Tournament against Florida State.  He should be poised for a breakout season and will likely flourish in a starting role.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Seton Hall (Charleston Classic)
11/18 vs. Georgia Tech/St. Joseph’s (Charleston Classic)
11/20 vs. Northwestern/LSU/Tulsa/Western Kentucky (Charleston Classic)
11/27 at Alabama
11/30 vs. South Florida
12/4 vs. George Washington
12/10 vs. Richmond
12/20 vs. UAB
2/17 vs. TBA (ESPN BracketBuster)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, 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.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

Trackbacks

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