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Onward VCU! To Atlantis!

Onward VCU! To Atlantis!

A tropical getaway for some, Atlantis is an ideal dream escape from the normal grind. The beaches, people, and vibe may be what the doctor recommends for a lovely dip into paradise. For VCU Men’s Basketball, Atlantis will be a battleground where the Rams will show the world what they’ve got in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

Before the serious part of the business trip commences, VCU had one final game to tune some things in the Siegel Center against Binghamton. A dominating 81-42 Black & Gold victory over the Bearcats displayed multiple concepts and thoughts worth pondering.

Still Undefeated

A fitting slogan on apparel for VCU Football and also VCU Men’s Basketball’s current standing. The Rams are 3-0 which is great; VCU defeated UNC Asheville, Liberty on the road and now Binghamton. 3 Games, 3 Victories, 3-0. That winning feeling can become contagious as teammates crave for more during the course of the season.

Sweet, sweet victory can also be fueled towards improvements. VCU Head Coach Will Wade was happy with his team’s performance stating that it was nearly the complete game he envisioned VCU playing. Players appeared to be enjoying the game of basketball while chemistry and communications operated at high levels. Rebounding and free throw performances took a back seat against the Bearcats yet the Rams were still able to come out victorious.

Black & Gold Paint Job

Paint production was on point against Binghamton as VCU added some extra layers under the rim. Ahmed Hamdy started over Mo Alie-Cox for the third consecutive game which in reality is looking more promising. When VCU’s guards feed the ball inside early it can literally be “all she wrote” if Hamdy or Mo get the rim attack going ferociously.

That ferocity levels up with the return of Justin Tillman. Tillman was available to put in some minutes versus Binghamton but Coach Wade played it safe and rested the Fro. Adding another body down low can cause problems for the opposition; especially a hungry Tillman waiting to return home in the paint.  Just the presence of Mo, Hamdy, and Tillman inside that painted box can derail a team’s focus from everything else out on the court.

Nothing is derailing Coach Wade and his plan for in the paint. Wade is constantly preaching to his players to feed the rock inside; the Rams look to have answered his prayers. As the paint game continues to improve, the three ball will come into the play. And if the rain starts coming from downtown, the odds of a Black & Gold victory are good. Very good.

Robust Reserves

VCU’s bench once again nearly outscored the visitors. The Rams bench scored 35 points in comparison to Binghamton’s 18 from the bench. Samir Doughty and De’Riante Jenkins started to tap into their inner potential and that has Ram fans very excited for the future.

And the future is now.

Jenkins is starting to get comfortable in his own skin as a collegiate basketball player. He’s getting better at finding open looks while keeping cool, calm and collected. Doughty doesn’t care how big or wide the defender is; if there is an open lane then odds are Doughty has already surpassed you. Stir the pot with these talented freshmen and the experience of veteran players equals a well-tuned Black & Gold bench full of weapons. Which is something that you would love to have at your disposal when things get a bit hairy on the court.

Tropical Opportunity

“It’s work for us…(a) chance to build your resume. It’s work. It’s as important as anything that you do…if we go down there and win a couple games (then) we can walk the dog the rest of the season into the NCAA tournament.” –Coach Wade

Opportunity will be staring VCU in the face for 3 straight days at Atlantis. One game can change a season, especially early season tournament games. With a stacked tournament field, VCU just won the golden ticket from the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. The Rams will face off against Baylor who recently made headlines after wrecking shop against Oregon. Following that result, VCU could face either St. John’s or Michigan State. Then after that, it’s a toss-up between Wichita State, LSU, Louisville or Old Dominion.

A stacked pool of opponents for VCU to make an impression. All it takes is one win against one of these great teams for the Rams to make some buzz. If VCU somehow won all three games in the Battle 4 Atlantis then the Rams literally can cruise towards March Madness nearly stress-free.

Resume building is important at this time of the year. All the Rams have to do is cash in on their golden ticket.

Infectious Confidence

A Bearcat shellacking of a home-cooked meal is just what VCU needed. Looking at the team as whole, VCU has the right state of mind going into this tournament. Players feel confident in their play, Coach Wade can see the progress rolling and a sense of belief is growing. The Rams are far from complete as a team yet the Black & Gold are in a good spot at the moment.

Limiting turnovers is still a work in progress along with improvements in rebounding and defending. For the first time this season, VCU met their team goal of 12 turnovers or less per game. Achievement Unlocked! The Rams were also able to score 22 points off 18 turnovers by Binghamton which was fantastic. However, VCU will be going up against better competition with better ball control. Can HAVOC continue going on the up and up as the opponent difficulty increases?

Confidence is one thing but sometimes a little bit of skill can be of great assistance.

Helping one another is something that VCU is doing better. That extra pass leading to the open 3 ball or tomahawk jam skyrockets VCU and their confidence. If VCU believes, the Rams can achieve.

Breakaway Takeaways

  • 2 Drivers, 1 Mission: Samir Doughty and Jonathan Williams continue to drive VCU’s offense. Both guards are not afraid of contact inside and attack the rim with reckless abandon. A good paint alternative if VCU’s forwards need a jump start from inside the paint.
  • Silent Workhorse: Mo Alie-Cox had zero points against Binghamton yet his three blocks were loud enough to make him heard on the court. As Alie-Cox continues to enter the game from the bench it’s nice to see that #MoSaysNo is still loud and clear.
  • Competition Spike: B1G, SEC, Big East, etc. Some of the top caliber teams in college basketball await VCU in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Well, time to show what the Rams bring to the table.

Pack your bags Rams. You guys have business to take care of in the Bahamas.

GAME RECAP & GALLERY: VCU vs. Binghamton

Ram Reminder: Atlantis

The Baylor Bears await VCU in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis. That game tips off on Wednesday, November 23rd at 2:30 PM.

Click below for fullscreen images

  • Atlantis
  • MTSU Preview, JeQuan Lewis

Mark graduated from VCU in 2014 with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. He started as a fan of the Black & Gold in the stands his freshman year. Mark was known as "Kazie" for his charismatic fandom with the VCU's student organization the Rowdy Rams. While at VCU he gained experience in sports media with WVCW on a sports radio show called Rowdy Radio. Following graduation, Mark continued crafting his social media skills with the Richmond Kickers while also handling VCU coverage. He is a true fan of the Rams and vocally passionate on and off camera. After the final whistle, you can probably find him at local RVA bar or brewery enjoying a drink and conversation.

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