Round 1: #7 Oregon State vs. #10 VCU
Location: Oklahoma City, OK (March 17, 1:30 PM ET)
Season record: 24-10, 14-4 in Atlantic 10, 1st in Atlantic 10
Why they can upset
VCU is a scary 10-seed. They are a team with NCAA Tournament experience and still made noise after the departure of Shaka Smart. The Rams advanced to the Final Four in 2011 and round of 32 in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 and 2015, a team in the Atlantic 10 won at least one game. VCU is the only Atlantic 10 team with a late seed and has a better record than Oregon State. The Atlantic 10 is ready to make some noise.
SG Melvin Johnson
Melvin Johnson is VCU’s best player. Johnson led the team with 17.4 points per game and was named to First Team All-Conference. He is a three-point sniper dropping 39.1% from behind the arc. Since Johnson is a senior, this is VCU’s year to make a run.
PG JeQuan Lewis
JeQuan Lewis leads VCU is assists per game. Of all players who played in all of VCU’s 34 games, Lewis led the group in three-point and free throw shooting percentages. He is also second on the team in steals leading a “havoc” defense. His game is all about efficiency. Keep your eyes on the JeQuan Lewis vs. Gary Payton II matchup.
PF Mo Alie-Cox
Mo Alie-Cox (cover photo) can jump out the gym. Alie-Cox led the Rams in blocks per game and second in rebounds. His style of play is physical and has the speed to run the floor. With a 7’1″ wingspan, he owns the paint. He was also named to the All-Conference Third, Academic and Defensive teams. The scary thing is Alie-Cox is only a junior and will be back next season.
What about Oregon State?
VCU is a terrible matchup for Oregon State. Oregon State only averages 72.1 points per game, 205th in Division 1. VCU is a defensive-minded basketball team that only gives up 66.7 points per game, 55th in Division 1. They are also 9th in Division 1 in steals per game with 8.91. Their defense is nicknamed “Havoc” for a reason. Gary Payton II is going to have to play out of his mind for Oregon State to win.
VCU 75, Oregon State 69