Kansas plays Virginia Commonwealth tomorrow at 1:20 pm central with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Kansas looks for its 14th Final Four ever and VCU is looking for their first.
I’m here to tell you that Kansas should and will run VCU out of the gym tomorrow afternoon. But people have been saying that all tournament and VCU has overcome all those obstacles.
So here is why Kansas is going to dominate VCU tomorrow…
- Kansas is a lot taller than VCU: Kansas is 91st in the country in height advantage while VCU is 211st. Jamie Skeen (8 vs. Florida State, 9 vs. USC), Darius Theus (6 vs. Florida State), Joey Rodriguez (11 vs. Purdue), Bradford Burgess (8 vs. Georgetown, 10 vs. USC, 8 vs. Old Dominion) have been the only players with more than five rebounds in a game so far in the NCAA tournament for VCU. They only out-rebounded one of their opponents in NCAA tournament play so far: USC (297th in the country in average height).
- In addition to this: When Kansas lost this season, they were out-rebounded by an average of 7.5 rebounds per game. In total, Kansas was out-rebounded six times this season (Kansas vs. UCLA, Kansas at Arizona, Kansas at Nebraska, Kansas vs. Texas, Kansas at Kansas State, and Kansas vs. Texas A&M). They were out-rebounded by an average of 7.33 rebounds per game in those games. Three of those teams had multiple games against Kansas and the Jayhawks out-rebounded those teams by an average of 4.33 rebounds per game in those matches.
- Kansas is 31st in the country in offensive rebounding percentage and 15th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage. On the flip side, VCU is 213th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage and 318th in defensive rebounding percentage. Note that there are 345 teams in NCAA Division-1.
VCU didn’t really deserve to be in the tournament:
- They finished fourth in Colonial Athletic Association. George Mason and Old Dominion also got bids to the NCAA tournament. Is the Colonial AA really that impressive that they’d get two less bids than the Big 12, one less than the Pac-10 and ACC? Doubt it.
- Their 11 losses consist of teams like UAB, South Florida, Georgia State, Northwestern, Drexel and James Madison (all non-tournament teams) and to Tennessee, Richmond, George Mason, Old Dominion (x2).
- Their RPI was 49 and SOS was 85. Not exactly a great at-large bid resume.
Everyone that gets a serious amount of minutes for Kansas has tournament experience, except for Josh Selby. On VCU, no one had an NCAA tournament win on the roster before this season.
- Kansas has played one less tournament game than VCU.
- VCU just played an overtime game against a physical Florida State team on Friday night (they had the later game, too).
- In addition to overtime, VCU had to play three games in five days last week.
Only twice has there been zero No. 1 seeds in the Final Four:
1980: Louisville (#2 seed), Iowa (#5 seed), Purdue (#6 seed), and UCLA (#8 seed)
2006: UCLA (#2 seed), Florida (#3 seed), LSU (#4 seed), and George Mason (#11 seed)
George Mason is in the Colonial Athletic Association and is the last No. 11 seed to make the Final Four. They beat UConn in 2006 to get to the Final Four, a team that has already punched their ticket to the Final Four.
- VCU is 11th in the nation in forcing steals.
- Kansas’ worst loss of the season was to Kansas State, 84-68. Kansas has 11 assists and turned the ball over 18 times. Tyshawn Taylor had six of those turnovers. Note: Kansas hasn’t had a negative A/TO ratio since the Colorado game in the Big 12 tournament (14/15) and they’ve only had one game since the K-State game where the A/TO ratio was really negative (at Missouri 24/14).
- Tournament games: Florida State (12 steals, 16 total turnovers by FSU), Purdue (four steals, seven total turnovers by Purdue), Georgetown (seven steals, 17 total turnovers by Georgetown), USC (five steals, 15 total turnovers by USC).
- VCU, on the other hand, has taken care of the ball (for the most part) in their tournament games (but not so much against Florida State). Turnovers by game: USC- 7, Georgetown – 6, Purdue – 4, Florida State- 16.
- VCU’s point distribution is as follows: 35% from three, 44.3% from two, and 20.7% from free-throws.
- Their 3-point distribution is 26th in the country.
- VCU has made at least eight 3-pointers in each of their NCAA tournament games so far.
However… Kansas is good at defending the three-ball (17th in the country):
- Kansas’ 3-point defense has allowed nine 3-pointers at the most so far in the NCAA tournament (Boston University).
- But Richmond (who is 16th in the country in 3-point percentage) only made four in the Sweet 16 against KU and was 15.4% from beyond the arc.
- Only Longwood and Iowa State have hit more than 10 3-pointers against Kansas. Kansas needs to limit the amount of 3-pointers VCU makes. If they keep it under eight, the Jayhawks should win easily.
The key for Kansas is to limit turnovers and defend the 3-point line like they have all season long. They also need to not play down to their opponent. With a trip to the Final Four on the line, they should have a lot of motivation to completely dominate the Rams.
VCU is going to need to need to make sure the rebounding differential doesn’t highly favor Kansas.
Prediction: Kansas defeats VCU 80-64.