Coming off its win over Texas in Austin on Wednesday, VCU will head to Charlottesville Sunday on a high, to face No. 4-ranked Virginia.
The Cavaliers, known for their tough Pack-Line defense and methodical pace, are holding teams to just 51.5 points a game, the best mark in the country. Per KenPom.com, their adjusted tempo of 62.4 possessions per 40 minutes is dead last in the country.
After Wednesday’s result, coach Mike Rhoades said that VCU will have to same approach against U.Va. as it did against Texas.
“We got to play unbelievable defense, and then we got to be more aggressive on offense, not be so robotic,” Rhoades told Ram Radio color commentator Mike Litos. “But against a team like them, that, they don’t make mistakes, you can’t make it worse by you making lazy mistakes, as I call them.”
VCU’s adjusted tempo of 70.3 is 171st in the country, according to KenPom.com, right at the Division I average. The Rams are averaging 68.4 points a game.
Sunday’s game, which tips off at 1:30 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena, is the second of a home-and-home series between the Rams and Cavaliers.
In last year’s matchup, a 76-67 U.Va. victory at the Siegel Center, VCU kept it pretty close. A 3-pointer by Mike’L Simms with 8:08 left made it a 2-point game, 59-57. Then it was a 3-point game with 5 minutes to go after a free throw by De’Riante Jenkins, to complete a 3-point play, before the Cavaliers pulled back away.
On Thursday, Rhoades said that the best way to get momentum for the next day is to take it in from the last day. And the Rams will have it going into the weekend.
“We got our hands full with a great U.Va. team, and unbelievable coach,” Rhoades said. “They are very, very good at home. They’re good everywhere they play, but they’re very good at home. And it’s another awesome challenge for us.”