Drexel vs VCU: Preview and Prediction

January 8th, 2012

VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH (11-4, 2-1 CAA) AT DREXEL (9-5, 1-2 CAA)

 

Time/TV: 8 p.m./CSN, CSS

 

Location: John A. Daskalakis Center

 

RPI Rankings: Virginia Commonwealth 84; Drexel 130

 

Line: Drexel -1

 

VCU Players to Watch: F Bradford Burgess, 6-6 Sr. (13.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 36.8% 3s); F Juvonte Reddic, 6-9 So. (9.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 56.1% FG); G Darius Theus, 6-3 Jr. (8.4 ppg, 4.7 apg, 46.8% FG).

 

Drexel Players to Watch: F Samme Givens, 6-5 Sr. (12.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 58.2% FG); G Chris Fouch, 6-2 Jr. (11 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.1 apg); G Frantz Massenat, 6-4 So. (11.9 ppg, 3.9 apg, 43.4% 3s).

 

Storyline: Drexel was the pre-season pick to win the Colonial, but the Dragons have struggled with injuries and inconsistency and are 9-5 overall and 1-2 in the CAA. VCU was 3-3 early, but had won eight in a row until Wednesday’s home loss to Georgia State, which is unbeaten in league play.

 

Keys to Victory: VCU’s pressure defense could be the difference. The Rams are averaging 10.3 steals per game and forcing 18.3 turnovers per game. The Dragons play tough, physical defense and will need to against the balanced Rams' offense. They’ll also need to dominate on the boards, where they usually have a significant advantage. Fouch has been up-and-down, but when he’s good, Drexel is awfully tough to beat - especially at home.

 

The Bottom Line: This is another CAA game that could go either way. Drexel’s gym is tough on visitors and the Dragons need this victory to stay in the league race.

 

The Pick: Drexel 59, VCU 55.