Akron Zips vs. VCU Rams
Tip-off: Thursday, March 21, 2013 – 9:45 PM ET
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
The Akron Zips‘ coach Keith Dambrot thinks of VCU Rams‘ Shaka Smart as family. Dambrot recalled crying tears of joy when was he heard Smart coached the Rams past the Kansas Jayhawks for a spot in the 2011 Final Four.
Coach Dambrot thinks an upset is possible if the 12th-seeded Akron team can slow down the fifth-seeded Rams tonight. However, YouWager experts consider it will be difficult.
Smart’s VCU team has a high-tempo defense and offense that has works well. The style of play helped the Rams reach the Final Four in 2011 and make a third straight trip in 2013 to the NCAA tournament.
VCU has their highest seeding since being a No. 2 in 1985.
Smart has strengthened his players belief in him when he chose to stay two years ago, turning down opportunities to coach bigger programs such as the North Carolina State Wolfpack, after leading the Rams on a surprising run to the national semifinals in his second season as a head coach.
While both college basketball coaches understand being the focus of attention leading up to their matchup in the NCAA tournament, both are trying to bring attention toward the players who will make shots and stops to determine who wins and advances.
The Rams have four double-digit scorers, led by guard Treveon Graham, who averages 15.5 points.
The quick and pesky VCU team has only one player, 6-foot-9 forward Juvonte Reddic taller than 6-5 in their usual playing rotation.
In the mean time, Akron can counter with 7-foot center Zeke Marshall, the MAC’s all-time leading and active NCAA-leading shot-blocker, who scores a team-high 13 points a game, and five other players in their rotation who are at least 6-7.
According to Dambrot size will be an advantage for the Zips if they can manage to slow down the pace of play without suspended point guard Alex Abreu, who was arrested on drug trafficking charges two weeks ago.