RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Winning is fun guys. Let me be clear there. During this eight game win streak, VCU has had more fun playing the game of basketball than I’ve seen in my short two and a half year run since coming to Richmond.
The scoring: coming naturally.
The defense: as crazy as ever in the fullcourt.
The atmosphere: the players feed off it like a leech, in the best possible way.
Wednesday night’s 85-55 drubbing of George Washington only proves that, moving the Rams to 4-0 in the Atlantic-10. They once again are the team to beat this season in the conference along with Dayton, and expect both teams to be in the running for both the regular season and tournament titles when it’s all said and done. For a full recap of the game check out our sports page: VCU cruises by George Washington 85-55 for 8th straight win.
- “Feed the Paint” – Head coach Will Wade has said all season where his bigs go VCU goes. After Saturday’s win over UMass he said, “It’s nothing sexy but it’s tried and true basketball.” Wednesday VCU scored 48 points in the paint, with Alie-Cox/Tillman/Hamdy combining for, give or take, 41 of them. In turn, it gives them more energy to crash the boards, hustle in scrums and finish under duress. It also opens up driving lanes for JeQuan Lewis and Johnny Williams to feast on. It’s old-school, smash-mouth basketball and it’s working with incredible efficiency right now.
- “The Tillman Effect” – Justin Tillman finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, his third double-double in his last four games. Tillman coming into the season had only six in his career. The redshirt junior is finding his stride and has demonstrated he is the more consistent low-post presence of the bunch.
After Wednesday’s win over George Washington, coach Wade said Tillman has been more aggressive in his preparation, “he’s starting to understand how much you’ve got to study the other opponent, study what happens. All of that stuff helps, he’s locked into what we’re doing. He’s understanding, he’s growing with it.” Tillman has the potential to be on the Atlantic-10 1st team if he keeps this clip going.
- “Havoc Lives Here” – VCU continues to wreak havoc on its opponents, and yes that’s intentional, it’s exactly what they’ve done to begin conference play. Wednesday night VCU forced George Washington to turn the ball over 17 times which led to 22 transition points for the Rams. VCU’s conditioning gives them an edge each time they take the court, winning the transition game only accelerates how quickly the Rams can pull away from their competition in the second half. Johnny Williams has stepped up his game in this department aiding JeQuan Lewis when Coach Wade brings out the full-court pressure.
VCU goes on a two-game road trip starting this weekend at Davidson. While starting 4-0 is no easy feat, winning both games against the Wildcats and then heading to Fordham will be even more difficult. Luckily, the Rams have had success this season away from the Siegel Center. As Coach Wade said so eloquently after Wednesday night’s win,
“Creighton and us are the only two teams with four true road wins this year, I don’t know if you knew that. Creighton’s SID tweeted that out.” Laughter ensued, but on a serious note, Will Wade’s team knows what it takes and can instantly look back to their last two in conference road wins, at George Mason and at Duquesne, for strategy. The Richmond Spiders were able to keep the Atlantic-10’s top two scorers, Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge, in check so figure VCU can manage as well, assuming of course VCU doesn’t go into the game feeling “too loose” as Coach Wade describes it.
Our friend Robb Crocker who was the creater of “HAVOC HAVEN” has moved on to Virginia Union to become a teacher. We don’t expect to just pick up where he left off and run with it, we only wish to do the best we can to carry on his creation that many of you who follow this have stuck with. We will miss him and wish him the best in his future endeavor. We look forward to continuing the VCU blog on 8News. Stay tuned!
Feel free to be a participant — this is a fan friendly blog. Send me a video of your pre-game, in-game, and/or post-game analysis to firstname.lastname@example.org and I might post it. You can tweet at me too @RobbCrockerWRIC. I just might retweet you or make you famous here on the blog. Remember kids, keep it clean, your parents could be watching!
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