After toppling University of Virginia about five and a half weeks back in mid-November, Virginia Commonwealth goes for state supremacy this evening in a matchup with Virginia Tech. If this matchup’s atmosphere is anything like the UVA matchup, it should be a fun time for everybody involved. The Hokies are currently trading as 1.5-point favorites over their mid-major rival.
VCU’s win over Virginia came in a true road game at John Paul Jones Arena. Needless to say, there were certainly plenty of Commonwealth supporters in the building but tonight’s game against Tech should be more neutral. This one is at the Richmond Coliseum and is officially a “neutral site” game. When you look at power rankings, standings and pre-season expectations the favored side comes as a surprise.
The first thing to look at in a game involving VCU is the other team’s guards and team ball-handling ability. Virginia Tech has some talent – a little more than analysts gave them credit for coming into the season. Jarell Eddie is their senior leader and leading-scorer. Eddie is a combo guard that can handle and might have to a little more than he might like to with the rest of the Hokie guards still rather young. Adam Smith and Ben Emelogu have just one prior year of experience between them as the other two primary guards and scorers for this Virginia Tech side. Tech comes in winner’s of four straight games that included a true road win over Miami in its last game. While the Hokies fell to Michigan State and Seton Hall in back-to-back games, they’ve been very solid all year with another good win over West Virginia at home.
For VCU is comes down to where it gets its buckets from. But this team has a little more offensive prowess than VCU teams of the past. Traveon Graham and Juvonte Reddic give the Rams an elite scoring punch to go with Brandenberg’s shooting and then a bevy of great role scorers. VCU lost two early games to Florida State and Georgetown but have also won at Belmont, at Virginia and have the motivation of sweeping the season from their in-state rivals. Look for VCU to try and take advantage of what might be a little rust on Virginia Tech early in this one, playing its first game in just about two weeks. VCU is the better team getting points, which makes them a tough team to not back in this situation.
Free Pick: Virginia Commonwealth +1.5