By Jakob Vaughan
March 20, 2019
The main cause of concern following the loss to Rhode Island was guard Marcus Evans. Last Friday, Evans was helped off the court with a left knee injury, which he did not put any weight on. Marcus Evans has battled the last two years through two Achilles tears. Following the game head coach Mike Rhoades said the doctor told him the knee is stable and was a deep bone bruise. Rhode Island ended VCU’s Atlantic 10 tournament hopes with a 75-70 win over VCU. VCU’s upset loss to Rhode Island in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament had no effect on the 95.5% odds of the Rams making the NCAA tournament. The loss in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament also had no impact on the team’s seeding in the NCAA tournament.
VCU received the 8th seed in the East Region bracket of the NCAA tournament. VCU will be wearing their white home uniforms for Friday night’s first-round matchup. 8th seed VCU will face 9th seed UCF on Friday night at 9:40pm on CBS. The VCU Rams were 5-0 in games that tipped off at 8pm or later this season. VCU is favored to beat UCF at 54.3% according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.
VCU has an elite defense ranking second in Division I, defending the 3 ball. VCU in the regular season held opponents to 38.4% field-goal shooting, 27.6% from the 3-point line and 61.6 points per game. UCF had lost their last two games to Memphis and Temple, whereas VCU is coming off a tough Atlantic 10 tournament loss to Rhode Island. Before VCU’s loss to Rhode Island, VCU was on a 12 game winning streak and finished the regular-season with an overall record of 25-6. VCU won the regular season Atlantic 10 title by two games. UCF is known for their big man Tacko Fall that stands at 7’6” tall. UCF also has a guard by the name of B.J. Taylor who averages 16.0 point per game shooting 39.1 from the field. VCU has four players that average double digits:
Marcus Evans 13.8 PPG
De’Riante Jenkins 11.4 PPG
Isaac Vann 10.9 PPG
Marcus Santos-Silva 10.1 PPG
UFC’s Tacko Fall can make his tall presence felt on opposing opponents by blocking 77 shots in 31 games, while also helping on the offensive side averaging 10.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. UCF has never been seeded higher than the 14th seed and this is their first at-large bid in program history with this being their 5th NCAA tournament appearance.
VCU’s point guard Marcus Evans is listed as questionable for Friday night. Evans stated coming off the knee injury he is “getting better each day”. VCU’s head coach Mike Rhoades told reporters on Thursday afternoon that Marcus Evans is expected to play against UCF and said, “he’s going to give it a shot”. Marcus Evans did return to practice on Thursday, during open practice Evans was seen moving around very fluidly.
The winner of Friday night’s matchup will play either number one seeded Duke or North Dakota State. Duke is heavily favored to win the whole NCAA tournament. Duke has the best odds to be crowned National Champions, since Kentucky in 2012.