NCAA

2019 March Madness Bubble Watch: VCU Rams

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Amber Searls - USA Today

2019 March Madness Bubble Watch: VCU Rams

VCU has one Cinderella run in the NCAA Tournament under its belt this decade -- could another be in store? After making the Final Four in 2011, they made the NCAA Tournament seven consecutive years before missing out in 2018.

The Atlantic-10 has experienced a bit of a down year and is only expected to get two teams, maximum, into the tournament. The Rams are on the right side of the tournament bubble and the A-10's only true candidate for an at-large bid.

If the Rams win the conference tournament in Brooklyn, New York, bubble teams in bad standing can take a deep sigh of relief.

But if they lose?

That's where things get messy.

VCU Rams (24-6; 15-2, 1st in Atlantic-10 Conference)

Tim's Take: VCU struggles offensively, but their defense and depth can give opposing teams fits. They rank 4th in the nation in defensive efficiency per KenPom, just behind title contenders Virginia, Texas Tech, and Michigan. No player on VCU's roster averages more than 28 minutes per game and they roll 11 players deep. The Rams force, on average, over 16 turnovers per game. Fresh legs plus tenacious defense could make things difficult on an opposing offense. They will not fare well in a shootout, but if they can keep the score in the 60s (or lower), they will have a chance to make it beyond the first weekend.

A team I'm intrigued about, but I don't know if I love them. According to the analytics, defensively they're one of the top teams in the country. They force over 16 turnovers per game, and they roll about 11 players deep. [This team] went to Charlottesville early in the season and led Virginia 45-44 with four minutes remaining.

VCU players to watch:

G Marcus Evans (redshirt-junior) - 13.9 ppg, 3.3 apg, 1.9 spg, 77.4 FT%, 27.1 3PT%
G De'Riante Jenkins (junior) - 11.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 75.6 FT%, 34.5 3PT%
F Marcus Santos-Silva (sophomore) - 9.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 57.3 FT%, 60.6 FG%

VCU Tournament Profile:

Rankings: #32 KenPom; #31 NET; unranked all season in AP and USA Today polls

Notable Results: Lost at #4 Virginia 57-49; lost vs. St. John's 87-86; won at Texas 54-53; lost to Davidson (2nd place in A-10); currently riding 11-game winning-streak

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Miami vs. Virginia Tech time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Miami vs. Virginia Tech time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Virginia Tech welcomes Miami to Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night, looking to avenge a 71-61 January loss to the Hurricanes. Meanwhile, Miami is chasing a three-game winning streak to improve its seed for the ACC tournament.

Despite both teams having good victories on their respective ledgers, the Hokies and Hurricans have both largely struggled this season and find themselves among a crowded middle of the ACC standings. 

There are currently nine ACC teams — including Virginia Tech (6-8) and Miami (5-10) that have a conference record between 5-10 and 7-7, meaning that just 2.5 games separate the fifth spot and 13th position. The Hokies and Huricanes have five games left in the regular season to improve its spot in the ACC tournament, and that starts with Wednesday night's matchup.

Forward Landers Nolley II leads Virginia Tech into this game with 17.2 points per game, and Miami guard Chris Lykes (15.2 points per game) gets his first chance against the Hokies this season after missing the January matchup.

Here's everything you need to know to catch Wednesday night's ACC action.

Miami vs. Virginia Tech: How to Watch

Who: Miami Hurricanes (13-12, 5-10 ACC) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (15-10, 6-8 ACC)
What: ACC basketball on NBC Sports Washington
When: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 9 p.m. ET. 
Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA
TV Channel: You can watch Miami vs. Virginia Tech on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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VCU's upset bid falls short as No. 5 Dayton earns 15th straight win

VCU's upset bid falls short as No. 5 Dayton earns 15th straight win

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Jalen Crutcher scored 18 points and No. 5 Dayton held off a late challenge and beat VCU 66-61 on Tuesday night, the Flyers' 15th consecutive victory.

Odi Toppin added 12 points and Trey Landers 11 for the Flyers (24-2, 13-0 Atlantic 10). They were the highest-ranked team ever to play on VCU's home floor.

VCU (17-9, 7-6) closed to within one possession several times in the last seven minutes, the last on Vince Williams' putback with 27 seconds left, but Dwayne Cohill made a pair of free throws with 22.4 seconds left and the Flyers held on.

Nah'Shon Hyland led VCU with 18 points and Marcus Santos-Silva had 12 points and 17 rebounds, but VCU lost for the fourth time in its last five games.

The Rams used an 8-1 run to get within 52-50 with 6:18 left, but Dayton converted six of eight free throws to rebuild the lead to 58-51. Malik Crowfield's 3-pointer and a free throw by De'Riante Jenkins pulled the Rams within 58-55, but Toppin scored inside and added a free throw.

BIG PICTURE

Dayton: The Flyers were shooting well about 50% for most of the game before a dry spell in the second half that included a pair of ill-advised 3-point tries by Crutcher and Landers. They finished 19 for 42, 45.2%.

VCU: The Rams played without point guard Marcus Evans, their top passer and No. 3 scorer. Evans aggravated a left knee injury in VCU's loss to Richmond last Saturday.

UP NEXT

The Flyers are at home against Duquesne on Saturday.

VCU is on the road at Saint Louis on Friday.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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