Battle Of Two Rising Star Coaches: #20 Butler At VCU
- CoachingBrad Stevens’ squad has wins over the top two teams in the country but has lost two of its last four to fall to third in the conference. Stevens is just three wins away from accumulating the most victories in a coach’s first six seasons.VCU is 10-3 and in second place in the conference. Shaka Smart has done a great job of recruiting the right players for his system. Like his counterpart on Saturday, he’s proven to be an excellent tournament coach.
- OffenseThe Bulldogs have shot very well the last two games. Rotnei Clarke continues to stay hot from the outside. Butler must protect the ball against VCU’s pressure.The Rams protect the ball and crash the offensive glass. They go from defense to offense very quickly. Juvonte Reddic averages 14.4 points per game and shoots 57 percent.
- DefenseButler doesn’t force many turnovers but they are solid on the defensive glass. They’ll have to defend the three-point line against the Rams.Smart has coined his pressure defense “Havoc,” fitting considering VCU’s defense leads the country in turnover percentage. If you can get into your offensive sets you can have success against this team, but doing so isn't easy.
- Bench DepthKellen Dunham comes off the bench and is the team’s second-best three-point shooter, behind Clarke. Senior Chase Stigall hasn't developed as expected.Briante Weber is the perfect defender for Smart’s system—a quick, long-armed player who creates a ton of turnovers.
Both schools are still in the hunt for a league title in their first season in the Atlantic 10. With the calendar turning to March, you know both of these coaches are going to have their teams playing their best. Meeting for the first time since the 2011 Final Four, VCU gets the edge at home. -Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor