I told you last night that it was coming...the hyperbole express. There was bound to be plenty of "what's wrong with VCU?" posts all around the internet and Rob Dauster responded with the most inflammatory version asking if VCU has reached their peak as a program?
I get where Rob is coming from, VCU is a poor shooting team at times that plays relatively poor halfcourt defense and plays a style that may not be sustainable forever. The Final Four for VCU is a long shot but the program is still growing to levels never seen before. There is the sellout streak, routine Top 100 recruits, and a multi-million dollar practice going up for the Rams. The "program" is growing faster than ever and at a speed we really haven't seen before, there is no doubt about that.
Preseason voters haven't done the Rams any favors making them the Notre Dame of college basketball and always slotting them in the top 15 recently. These early season hiccups always seem to happen, this year it was Villanova, last year it was Florida State and Georgetown in a poor showing in Puerto Rico, in 2013 Wichita State beat the Rams at home and then VCU dropped two games in the Bahamas. Before that it was losing it was losing to Seton Hall and Georgia Tech in the Charleston Classic. Simply put, VCU can't seem to make it out of November unscathed and that's hard to take for some due to the teams preseason ranking.
VCU responded to last night's loss with a 77-63 win over a depleted Oregon Ducks team with only seven scholarship players. It's really a hard game to gauge VCU because of Oregon's situation but Ram fans did see flashes of good things.
All five Rams starters finished in double-figures lead by Melvin Johnson with 19 points on a 7-for-13 night from the field. Treveon Graham responded from a 4 point performance last night with 13 points and 4 rebounds. Also, Briante Weber had a double-double with 11 points, 10 assists, and 4 steals. Speaking of steals, the Rams forced 20 turnovers which is double their total versus Villanova.
The bad news is VCU also turned the ball over 20 times themselves with Weber accounting for 4 turnovers. Also, the Rams bench only accounted for 3 points beyond the 9 points that JeQuan Lewis added. Yes, VCU has their most highly touted recruiting class ever but a lot of those freshman have been non-factors thus far this year. Tonight the three freshman who play accounted for just 3 points and 4 rebounds.
Like I said Monday night, VCU will be fine but we'll find out a lot about this team with two tough road match ups coming up with rival Old Dominion this weekend and a trip to Illinois State on Tuesday. VCU can't look ahead to their highly anticipated home match up with #9 Virginia on December 6 and will need to take care of business with some challenging mid-major match ups.