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1/08/2022 2:57 pm  #1

GW vs VCU Game Thread

Brutal schedule with the layoff, next up is a road game vs VCU.

Dayton began the game with a full court press, we know what's coming for us.

I understand why he's starting veteran transfers, but this game calls out for Brayon Freeman from the opening tip.


1/10/2022 7:09 pm  #2

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

VCU Rams

Date/Time: Tuesday January 11th @ 7:00 PM ET at the Stuart C. Siegel Center in Richmond, VA.
Preseason Ranks: 98th (KenPom), 79th (Bart Torvik), 75th (CBS), 83rd (SI)
2020-21 Record: 19-7, 10-4 (2nd in A10)
2021-22 Projected Record: 20-10, 13-6 (T-2nd in A10)

Coach: Mike Rhoades, 80-43 in four seasons at VCU with 2 NCAA appearances (and the conference coach of the year in 2019). He was previously an assistant for the Rams for five years. A Pennsylvania native, Rhoades previously coached at Rice (47-52 in three seasons with a CBI appearance) and D3 Randolph-Macon where he won over 70% of games and made the tournament four times in 10 years. He played college basketball at Lebanon Valley as a shooting guard and holds the school record in assists and steals in addition to leading the team to a D3 championship in 1994. On top of that, he was a 2x All-American and player of the year in 1995. Rhoades has had his jersey retired at the school. 

Head-to-Head: 3-16, and VCU has won the past four contests. In last year's 84-77 home loss, we placed three in double figures: Bishop (24 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists), Ricky (13 points, 12 rebounds, 5 steals in his GW debut), and Matt Moyer (12 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals). VCU looked like they were pulling away several times in the second half but we continued to battle despite Battle being out with a concussion. The first half went back and forth, but VCU took a late advantage when JC got T'd up on a call. We did shoot decently from the field - 42% (including 40% from three and 81% from the line) but VCU shot 63% from inside the arc and it's tough to win any game when an opponent is finishing inside at such a high clip. Unfortunately, I don't see a reason currently to believe that figure will improve in tomorrow's contest.

Offensive Efficiency: 263rd (KenPom), 319th (Bart Torvik)
Defensive Efficiency: 2nd (KenPom), 2nd (Bart Torvik) If the threes aren't falling for us well...let's not talk about it.
Pace: 186th (KenPom), 182nd (Bart Torvik) - VCU hasn't played as fast as they usually do, which is probably a product of the number of season-ending injuries they had prior to the start of the season. What they've been able to do despite that is impressive.
Returning Minutes: 47.9% (263rd in country)

Key Returning Players:
Vince Williams Jr. (Junior; Toledo, OH) 10.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1 SPG; 41% FG, 41% 3-PT, 79% FT
      Last season vs. GW: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists; 4-9 FG, 1-1 3-PT, 3-4 FT in 25 minutes.
Jamir Watkins (Freshman; Trenton, NJ) 7.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG; 39% FG, 29% 3-PT, 75% FT
      Last season vs. GW: 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal; 5-7 FG, 0-1 3-PT, 0-1 FT in 18 minutes.
Adrian 'Ace' Baldwin Jr. (Freshman; Baltimore, MD) 6.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 2.1 SPG; 37% FG, 26% 3-PT, 77% FT
      Last season vs. GW: 6 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals; 2-4 FG, 0-1 3-PT, 2-3 FT in 30 minutes.
Levi Stockard III (Senior; St. Louis, MO) 6.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG; 55% FG, 65% FT
      Last season vs. GW: 5 points, 1 steal, 1 block; 2-2 FG, 1-2 FT in 11 minutes.
Hason Ward (Sophomore; St. Thomas, Barbados) 6.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1 APG; 58% FG, 73% FT
      Last season vs. GW: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 blocks; 4-6 FG, 3-4 FT in 22 minutes.
KeShawn Curry (Junior; Jacksonville, FL) 5.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG; 46% FG, 33% 3-PT, 58% FT
      Last season vs. GW: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block; 2-7 FG, 0-2 3-PT, 2-2 FT in 20 minutes.

Key Losses:
Nah'Shon 'Bones' Hyland (Exit Early Pro; Wilmington, DE) 19.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 SPG; 45% FG, 37% 3-PT, 86% FT   Hyland is averaging 8 ppg for the Denver Nuggets on the season.
Jimmy 'Tre' Clark III (Transferred to Northwest Florida State College (JUCO); Covington, GA) 5.9 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.8 SPG; 50% FG, 24% 3-PT, 84% FT

COVID-19 has hurt all teams and conferences in some way since last season. However, I don't think any conference has been affected more than the A10. I believe only the MAAC had more games canceled last season, and so far the majority of the teams this year have paused at least once already due to the Omicron variant. The bigger hit from COVID came during postseason play, as Dayton's 29-2 squad (the Flyers would have possibly been a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament) never got a chance to play in March and VCU's squad last year had the unfortunate distinction of being the only postseason team to shut down because of COVID. In a 7 vs. 10 matchup, I'm sure many picked VCU to upset Oregon, but given the Pac-12's success in the tournament last season perhaps Oregon would have prevailed regardless. For those keeping track at home, that's two teams in two years where an A10 school with an NBA player drafted in the first round never got to put on for the conference.

It was a successful season nonetheless for the Rams in 2020-21. VCU managed to actually get 9 OOC games in, and they only had six games canceled during the regular season. They won two big neutral site games early on against Utah State and Memphis, and their only losses prior to A10 season were against P6 teams Penn State and West Virginia. A six game winning streak in the middle of conference play bolstered their resume, and VCU beat every team in the conference at least once which is pretty impressive.

For the Rams, it's never a rebuild but rather a reload even when you lose a player like Bones, who led the team in scoring in 20 out of 26 games last season. The roster is built to withstand injuries because they recruit players that fit their havoc scheme, which is why I personally prefer having a team that recruits based on a system rather than one that changes a system to fit players they can find. VCU is 9-4 to start the year despite Adrian 'Ace' Baldwin Jr., the fiesty floor general that arrived in Richmond last season, working his way back from an Achilles injury, and key contributors Jamir Watkins and Jarren McAllister going down with torn ACLs prior to the season (in the case of McAllister, I believe this is his second consecutive ACL tear - I feel bad for him). The 'next man up' mentality for VCU has really resonated, as the Rams have already taken down Syracuse and Vanderbilt and are currently on a four game winning streak. Their four losses are against Wagner (presumed NEC favorite), Chattanooga (13-3 on the year), and two top 25 teams in Baylor and UConn.

VCU goes 11 deep in their rotation. The tend to go with a three guard starting lineup with Baldwin, junior KeShawn Curry, Washington transfer Marcus Tsohonis, and freshman/Iowa State decommit Jayden Nunn in the mix for those spots. The Rams are 5-0 when Baldwin plays this year. Although the offense has been nothing to write home about, Baldwin is an 'Ace' playmaker, pacing the team with 5 assists a game and a team high 3 steals a contest. He hasn't been the most efficient shooting the ball in his VCU tenure, but if his St. Frances Academy days are any indication he can certainly make big shots when needed. Curry is similarly not a consistent shooter in the halfcourt but brings great experience as the veteran in the VCU guard attack. Tsohonis is a strong complementary playmaker alongside Baldwin and best three point shooter on the team (north of 42%) which has always been one his greatest assets over his career (yes, even on those bad Washington teams). Nunn fits that whole 'reload, but not rebuild' idea from above as he's made a instant impact as a freshman. He is the second leading scorer (9.9 ppg), averages two steals a game (perfect for the havoc scheme), and is the second best shooter on the team behind Tsohonis. The Nunn vs. Freeman battle will be one to watch out for in the game. Josh Banks and Nick Kern sit behind the quartet on the depth chart. Kern (who is more of a wing) has been the more efficient player when he's seen action, but expect both to see time tomorrow.

In the frontcourt, Vince Williams Jr. returns as a versatile forward. Although Williams has seen a slight dip in his shooting percentages from last year, there isn't a guy on the team that's more important than him. He leads the team in scoring (11.3 ppg), rebounding (6.1 rpg), is second in assists (2.8 apg) and blocks (1.2 bpg), and third in steals (1.7 spg). Williams is one of the most complete players in the league and will be a tough guard for us - perhaps this is a Ricky assignment.

The second forward spot will be occupied by either Kansas State transfer Levi Stockard III or Hason Ward. Stockard has yet to play a game in-conference due to complications with COVID-19, but likely resumes a starting spot if he's cleared as the only player in his final year of eligibility with the team. Neither player ventures too far from the hoop on offense. Stockard has been the better finisher/passer on offense, while Ward has the edge in rebounding. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if Ward has the better game against us based on how he did last year. Our frontcourt is arguably worse than it was last season.

Mikeal Brown-Jones and Jalen DeLoach will see some minutes off the bench. Both players add rebounding, but aren't highly used players on the floor. DeLoach has shown some potential as a scorer in the low post in his first season of college basketball. In the case of a blowout, Providence transfer Jimmy Nichols Jr. may see action, although he too is in COVID protocol and hasn't been a mainstay in the Ram rotation this season.

This will be a tough game, no doubt about that. I do want to see Ricky get more involved on offense and have guys take better shots though. Really hope to see us continue to fight if things do get out of hand during the game. We fell by 24 at their place in year 1 under JC. Can we keep it within 10-15? Standards are low,  but anything beyond that feels unrealistic right now.

Projected Score: VCU 69, GW 53. 5% chance to win (Bart Torvik). ESPN gives us a 6.7% chance at a W. VCU opens as a 17 point home favorite.


1/11/2022 8:41 am  #3

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

After the last game 69-53 would qualify a moral victory. Seriously, VCU's aggressive identity is the last thing this team is built to handle. Tonight is all about effort for me. Effective play is too much to expect.


1/11/2022 10:47 am  #4

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

If there was ever a game that called for the need to use a larger bench, tonight would be that game.  VCU sets out to exhaust you under normal circumstances.  As we saw on Saturday, just because you are medically cleared to play does not mean that some players who are getting over Covid are at full strength.  Essentially playing 6 guys tonight will not work.  I understand the notion of playing the best players but the question that needs to be asks, to use one example, is whether playing Daniel Nixon 6-8 minutes and allowing Ricky to rest those 6-8 minutes a better plan than overworking Ricky to the point of exhaustion?  Put another way, is a fresher Lindo + Nixon more desirable than an overworked Lindo without Nixon?  (Again, Lindo/Nixon is one example.)  Let's also remember that GW will be playing two games in three days starting this Saturday.  These guys need to work themselves back into shape, not overworked to the point of being completely ineffective.


1/11/2022 4:00 pm  #5

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

My prediction?
Pain ...


1/11/2022 5:01 pm  #6

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Bet on the spread if you're a gambling man. Gonna be an ugly one


1/11/2022 5:51 pm  #7

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Is this the game Brayon starts? The game Nixon plays??


1/11/2022 6:19 pm  #8

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Predictions seem to be pretty uniform on this one, and I´ll just add to it that after the loss a predictable host of handles will come on this board to point to this game as yet another example of why Christian, Vogel, Knapp, Obama and the COINTELPRO are to blame for GW´s losing record and how if only another coach was in charge this program would be gangbusters.
Me? I am going to watch to see if the post-COVID rust has receeded from the Dayton game and to see how our more athletic additions from last season look against the traditionally most athletic team in the A10.


1/11/2022 6:24 pm  #9

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

I think this is a matchup nightmare for GW, especially since it's at VCU. As Jon Rothstein says "A trip to the Siegel Center. More life altering than a 10-day trip to Europe."

But I'm ready to be pleasantly surprised. I hope to see some more of Nixon and/or Knapp but I'm not holding my breath. I REALLY don't want to see Samuels playing the 5 a lot. Throw Brown or Dean in there and let them sink or swim.


1/11/2022 7:02 pm  #10

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Not expecting a win, but would like to see some fight.   Some basic excution.  Don't quit once things go south.  That would be progress.

Last edited by Long Suffering Fan (1/11/2022 7:03 pm)


1/11/2022 7:04 pm  #11

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Here to stab my eyes out. Let's gooooooooooo!


1/11/2022 7:09 pm  #12

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Good to see Brayon get the start.  He's deserved it.


1/11/2022 7:10 pm  #13

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

good early pull of Freeman by the coach


1/11/2022 7:11 pm  #14

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

First game in NCAA history when one player takes 100% of a team's shots? (Bishop)


1/11/2022 7:12 pm  #15

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Brendan Adams makes me pine for Bryan Bynes.


1/11/2022 7:12 pm  #16

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

3 turnovers before the first media timeout.


1/11/2022 7:13 pm  #17

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Make that 4 turnovers before the first media timeout


1/11/2022 7:14 pm  #18

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Once again it looks like we apply vaseline instead of baby powder on our hands before the game


1/11/2022 7:15 pm  #19

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Long Suffering Fan wrote:

Not expecting a win, but would like to see some fight.   Some basic excution.  Don't quit once things go south.  That would be progress.

100% LSF! This is  the big question is the team mentally fried or not?


1/11/2022 7:16 pm  #20

Re: GW vs VCU Game Thread

Is "protect the ball" in the coaches lexicon?


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