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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