VCU seems to outperform their seeding in every NCAA Tournament. Head coach Shaka Smart has had every opportunity to leave town, yet it stays in town.
Stephen F. Austin could be a popular upset pick since they are coming into the tournament with only two losses. The Southland Conference isn’t exactly the Big Ten, so their undefeated conference record should be taken with a grain of salt.
Does VCU have another deep run left or will the Lumberjacks find themselves in the second round?
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VCU and head coach Shaka Smart have a knack for doing well in March. They performed well this offseason, but fell short in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament final. Their last four losses were all to NCAA Tournament teams, Saint Louis, UMass and St. Joseph’s (twice). The early season win at Virginia looks nice on their résumé. Early season wins are good, but by March, they lose some meaning.
Stephen F. Austin went undefeated in the Southland Conference. Their only two losses came early in the season to Texas and East Tennessee State (ouch). The one thing the Lumberjacks have going for them is their ball movement. They are 8th in the country with 16.6 assists per game. The most glaring stat is that no one on the team averages more than 3.5 assists per game. They pass until they get an open shot and are efficient from the outside, which is the blueprint for a first round upset.
VCU make the most out of their NCAA tournament appearances year after year. Shaka Smart could be one of the best coaches in college basketball…but their run is coming to an end. VCU is one of the worst in the country in field goal percentage. If Stephen F. Austin waits for good shots, they will upset the Rams. What the Lumberjaks lack in height, they make up in shooting range.
Prediction: #12 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.