2011 Final Four Coverage: VCU's Offensive Success Nothing New

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27: Jamie Skeen #21 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams handles the ball against Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

There's been a fair amount of talk about the production of VCU's offense in the last couple of weeks, not only on this site but nationally. Simply put, the Rams have been scoring the basketball quite well.

Following a win over USC in the First Four, Shaka Smart's team has scored at least 71 points in each of its subsequent contests, including a scintillating 92-point effort against Purdue in the round of 32. For those who have followed the Rams since the season began in November, this isn't a sudden revelation, rather another stretch of highly productive basketball that has littered the schedule this season. It just so happens that when the bright lights were first turned on in late February, the team was mired in its stretch of basketball, particularly at the offensive end.

Follow along after the jump for a look at just how productive VCU has been this season on a game-by-game basis.

VCU Offensive Efficiency

{Note: Data provided by Synergy Sports Technology}

As we can see the Rams have been tremendously efficient scoring the basketball this season - if not all that consistent - only once failing to register above the national average of scoring efficiency in a game. Overall VCU registered an adjusted offensive efficiency of 113.3 during the regular season according to data from Ken Pomeroy, the 29th best rate in the country. The information displayed above differs slightly in that it is a pure examination of offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) without taking tempo into consideration. Synergy's data sets the rams at 94.21 point per 100 possessions, the 45th best mark in the country, but still well above average.

Even within the contest of the most efficient offenses in the country the Rams manage to raise the bar another level as we can see how often they operated well above the 90th percentile mark of 94.8 points per 100 possessions during the regular season. It also becomes readily apparent that VCU has been playing some of its best basketball right now (something we already knew) at the right point in the season, as they have been operating in the top 10% of scoring efficiency nationally dating back to a February 26th loss to James Madison.

The single biggest factor in raising the Rams overall offensive profile has of course been their tremendous three-point shooting since the NCAA Tournament began (over 43%), but a low turnover rate, coupled with a slightly higher than usual rate of getting to the free throw line have factored in as well. Furthermore, VCU has been lucky enough to avoid riding a single hot hand to this point in the season, rather getting big games out of a variety of individuals including Jamie Skeen, Brandon Rozzell, Bradford Burgess and even the typically pass-happy Joey Rodriguez.

While continuing to operate at this high level of efficiency (something all the teams in the Final Four manage to do) is certainly no guarantee of further success at this point in the season when the competition level is so high, there are certainly no drawbacks as far as VCU's hopes of winning a national championship are concerned. 

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