By Jon Rothstein
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1. SMALL BALL
VCU may not have the offensive prowess it did a year ago when it reached the Final Four — but they are better defensively — and that’s a direct result of their smaller lineup. When Rams coach Shaka Smart opts to play 6-foot-6 wing Bradford Burgess as an undersized “four” man, VCU becomes more of a pest defensively and more fluid offensively. It’s this formula that has allowed the Rams to get off to such a solid start despite having a relatively inexperienced team.
2. TROY’S TOUCH
The VCU coaching staff told me prior to the season that the evolution of Troy Daniels could be the key to their season and so far the junior hasn’t disappointed. The 6-foot-4 junior has scored in double figures in eight of the Rams’ first fourteen games, including 15 in Monday’s 80-63 win at Hofstra. If Daniels continues to blossom, VCU should be at the top of the CAA.
3. UP AND UNDER
David Imes isn’t built to be Hofstra’s best interior presence — but it’s looking more and more like he is. The 6-foot-7 power forward is thriving as an undersized big man for the Pride and has a well versed array of moves in the low post. Don’t be surprised if Imes plays solely on the block moving forward with four perimeter players surrounding him.
4. HIGH POST THREAT
Juvonte Reddic is still a long ways away from the basketball player he’s going to become — but you can see flashes of his potential each time he steps on the floor. VCU’s lanky power forward is now a legitimate threat from 12-feet and out, giving the Rams a high post threat when they see a zone. With a productive offseason, Reddic has all the capabilities to be the best big man in the CAA next season.
5. MOORE AND MORE
Mike Moore is leading Hofstra in scoring this season at over 21 per game — but the Pride might be better off if that number dropped and the ball moved around more. A transfer from Fordham, Moore played a supporting role last year for the Pride behind Charles Jenkins and now seems to be relishing the autonomy he has on offense. If Moore made a conscious effort to get his teammates an extra touch moving forward, Hofstra would be much better off.
BY THE NUMBERS
44 to 21
VCU’s bench scoring compared to Hofstra’s.
What VCU’s Troy Daniels shot from 3-point range.
The number of turnovers by Hofstra.
THEY SAID IT
“We said coming into the game that 50-50 balls were a big key and they were just quicker to the ball than we were,” – Hofstra Coach Mo Cassara after Monday’s 80-63 loss to VCU.
“They’re the best team we’ve played this year, they’re an improving team,” Cassara on VCU. Hofstra has already played Iona, Cleveland State, and Oregon State.
“I like the fact that we have eight or nine guys who can beat you,” – VCU coach Shaka Smart on the Rams’ overall balance.
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