RICHMOND, Va. - Thursday night's matchup at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center is one that TV producers dream of. Throw in the CAA's best program over the past five years, toss in two young star head coaches as well as the league's best player, oh yeah, and why not have them battle for sole possession of first place?
That's exactly what will be happening when the VCU Rams host the Pride of Hofstra University on Thursday night on ESPNU at 7 p.m. Two teams that are off to outstanding starts in league play and find themselves tied atop a jumbled CAA standings at 8-1. Charles Jenkins comes in ranking in the top-five in the country in scoring and is the odds-on favorite to win the league's Player of the Year award for a second straight year.
Chris Kowalczyk from Around the Horns challenged the Black & Gold fans to take ownership of VCU's current 20-game home active winning streak yesterday, here's some reasons why CK is right and why you shouldn't miss Thursday's showdown with Mr. Jenkins and the Pride. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!!!
- Eyes on Eight
Not only are the Rams the hottest team in the CAA, they are one of the hottest in the country, carrying a seven-game winning streak into tonight's contest. It's the longest streak in two years, a streak that was ironically ended on Jan. 27, 2009 by Northeastern on ESPNU in a game that both teams were tied for first-place.
- Among the Elite
With home losses by the likes of Kansas, Pittsburgh, Morehead State and Murray State, VCU's active home winning streak of 20 has moved to fourth in the country. Duke (30), Kentucky (28) and Utah State (26) are the only teams ahead of the Black & Gold.
- Streaking Towards a Record...
With VCU's 59-55 win over William & Mary back on Dec. 4, the Rams set a new Siegel Center record with 13 straight home victories. The streak,
now at 20, ranks third all-time for longest home winning streaks by the
Black & Gold. The record is 25 which spanned from 1969-72. (all played
at Franklin Street Gym).
- House of Horrors for Hofstra
The Siegel Center isn't an easy place for anyone to play and that holds true for the Pride, who is one of four CAA schools that have never won inside this building. Hofstra is 0-7 all-time here.
- We Don't Give, But We Do Take
The "HAVOC" brand that Coach Smart has branded is coming to light now more than ever as the Black & Gold lead the country in steals per turnover ratio. Currently, VCU averages 9.14 steals per night, while only turning it over an average of 11.86 times, good for 0.77 st/to ratio.
- Department of Defense
There's an old adage that states, "Defense wins championships." That's exactly why the Rams have locked down on that end of the court recently. Through the first five games of the season, opponents were averaging 74.2 points per game and 41% from beyond the arc. Since then, VCU has limited their opponents to just 63.6 points per outing and 31% from long range. The numbers have been even better in the Rams' current seven-game winning streak. VCU has held their opponents to just 58.3 ppg and 32.4% from three. The Black & Gold has also forced an average of 16.3 turnovers per night over the recent stretch.