VCU-Baylor tips off at 2:30 PM EST and is the Pick of the Day.
VCU-Baylor will take place in Atlantis, the resort in Nassau, Bahamas. This is the first game in the Battle 4 Atlantis and it should be an interesting one to watch, but the result is going to become quite clear as we go along here.
VCU presses off points scored, which means that if they do not score, they do not press. If an opponent holds VCU off or if VCU goes cold, VCU can spiral easily in this game. Pressing teams like VCU are rhythm teams and it is a matter of making the press work so that the easy points are scored and making this all one big loop. This is how VCU can go long on big runs really quickly. VCU can wear out opponents with depth, pace and pressure. It’s going to spiral out of control one way or another with VCU and thus why it is called “Chaos”.
VCU’s competition has been weak thus far and their only trip away from the Siegel Center resulted in a five point win. Now VCU is going to play not only out of their own state for the first time this season, but now out of the country.
VCU is effective at getting steals, blocks, forcing turnovers, scoring in the money zones and hitting three point shots. However, they are ineffective at sharing the ball, valuing the ball, getting second chance opportunities on offense, Free Throw Shooting and denying shot attempts in the restricted arc.
How effective they are forcing their style of play on an opponent impacts whether they win the game.
Pick of the Day has backed Baylor before and was right. Baylor’s 1-1-3 and 1-3-1 Zone Defenses are far less common to face than a Diamond Press. Baylor plays a unique style of defense and their offense is typically efficient.
Baylor has faced tough competition already this season.
Baylor clamped down on each of the above on defense and shared the ball effectively.
Baylor has a blend of experience and talent that will enable them to avoid being spooked by any opponent. Jo Acuil in the middle is a force to be reckoned with on defense, he is an easy contender for Big XII Defensive Player of Year. Manu Lecomte has proven himself to be one of the best Point Guards in the country.
Baylor does not attempt shots often in the restricted arc, but when they do they score 87.5% of the time. They are a strong Free Throw shooting team at 76.4%.
Defensively, Baylor is not going to let opponents get to the restricted arc and shoot.
Baylor’s zone defense is tough to deal with as an offense.
VCU-Baylor Prediction and Pick
Baylor is very accustomed to facing pressing teams like VCU. In fact, they have to face Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns at least twice every season. Smart runs the same style of play as Will Wade at VCU. Baylor beat Texas two out of three times last season. Baylor is a bit of a different team this season as far as their identity is concerned, there is no surprise in what VCU is throwing at them. Baylor is tested and ready. Baylor knows how to share the ball and break this pressing defense.
Can VCU break Baylor’s 1-1-3 and 1-3-1 Zones? VCU has a poor assist-to-turnover ratio against weak competition and have no clear ability to distribute. Passing and movement on offense is absolutely necessary against Baylor’s zone. The closest thing to Baylor that VCU has faced defensively last season was Cincinnati and that did not go so well, they lost 69-63. Baylor is better than last season’s Cincinnati team on both ends of the floor.
Manu Lecomte confidently breaks VCU’s press and has a big game. Jo Acuil bedevils VCU as well.
Prediction: Baylor 73 VCU 61 (Baylor -3.5)
Pick of the Day is 8-4 this season after San Jose State covered a 27.5 point spread against Saint Mary’s.