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VCU’s X-factors essential to beating Butler

You’ve read plenty about VCU’s Joey Rodriguez and Jamie Skeen this week. Just as crucial to the Rams’ fortunes Saturday? X-factors Brandon Rozzell, Bradford Burgess and Ed Nixon.

Otherwise known as the Energy Brothers and the team’s most versatile player.

Rozzell, a 6-2 senior guard, has hit double figures in each of the last four games. He’s the guy who teammates know will heat up and keep shooting.

“If he makes one, if he sees one go in, then he’s going to come back out and try to get a couple more,” senior point guard Joey Rodriguez said. “That’s how he is. He’s always been like that. There’s instances in practices where he just goes nuts, and nobody can stop him.”

Coach Shaka Smart says Rozzell has the option to shoot at any time.

Burgess, a 6-6 junior, fills in at various positions when the Rams go small (often) and equally capable of filling the box score. He dropped 23 on Purdue and 26 on Florida State.

“If everybody can do something extra, it’ll be great for our team,” Burgess said. “Words can’t describe how much that would mean. That’s almost like the x-factor for us, somebody doing that little extra that doesn’t really shock the common eye, stat sheets and stuff like that.”

And Nixon? The 6-4 senior will be the one tasked to Butler’s Shelvin Mack. When he held Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore – and all-Big Ten player – to just 10 points, it disrupted the Boilermakers’ entire offense.

“He probably won us the game,” Smart said.

If those three guys are your supporting players, that’s a scary team.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.