|Written by Michael Patrick|
Bet on NCAABVCU will have to step up its game, something they have proven that they are able to do, if they want to compete will Purdue.
For VCU, who has been fueled by emotion, it will be the toughest test of the year. The Rams have yet to meet an opponent as talented as the Boilermakers. The biggest task ahead of them will be attempting to limit the dominance of Big Ten Player of the Year JaJuan Johnson. Johnson has been a dominant for all season for the Boilers, averaging over twenty point and nine rebounds per game. VCU will definitely have problems matching up with him.
VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart has chosen to attack Johnson with numerous players when he catches and making him find the open person. He has also alluded to using as much of his bench as he can during the game. “We have a lot of big guys that don't get a lot of minutes, they should play with a lot of energy when they get in there,” commented Smart. But Purdue is a solid team, not a one man show, and players like All-Big Ten Performer E'Twaun Moore will also be a huge concern for the Rams. Moore tore up top ranked Ohio State during the Boilers season finale when he scored 38 points.
Besides Moore and Johnson, the Rams need to be concerned about point guard Lewis Jackson. When he is on his game, Purdue can be virtually unstoppable offensively. When he has scored in double figures this season, Purdue has not lost many games. VCU point guard Joey Rodriguez will have his hands full.
If there is one bright spot for VCU it's that they have seen plenty of teams with Purdue's style of play. Many teams on their schedule run a motion very similar to Purdue; However, none execute the way the Boilers do. They cut and screen with such precision that they are able to wear opposing defenses down. A team with a chip on their shoulder can be scary for a giant like Purdue, a point I am sure Matt Painter will make to his team.