Rider vs VCU Preview and Prediction
Rider vs VCU Preview
This will be the first matchup between these two programs and we are in for a competitive affair.
The Rider Broncs (5-6) are in the midst of a six-game stretch away from home in which it will span five cities and three time zones and cover 9,545 miles. Rider lost its last time out against Cal St. Northridge, 81-80. The Broncs played without starters Dimencio Vaughn (injury) and Stevie Jordan (coach’s decision).
The VCU Rams (8-4) return to the floor this afternoon for the first time since it defeated Wichita State on Dec. 22 at the E.J. Wade Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. Due in part to finals week and the holidays, this will be just the Rams’ fourth game since Dec. 9.
VCU gets defensive
Every year VCU is known for its defense (although they struggled last season) and this year is no different.
The Rams are 20th in the nation allowing 62.3 points per game. VCU held just one opponent under 60 points in 2017-18, they have done so six times already this year.
VCU ranks second nationally in defensive effective field goal percentage (.413) and are third in the nation in 3-point FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 25 percent from beyond the arc.
Rider is complete
The question is, will they be complete this game?
Rider was picked to finish first in the MAAC (they were co-regular season champs last season) and there’s a reason why. The team returned all five starters, their top six scorers and 95 percent of their total scoring from a year ago.
I’ll be honest, I was burned by the Broncs absences in their last game. Covering the MAAC closely, I know how good Rider is but when your two top players are out of the lineup it’s hard to compete. And when one is a coaches decision benching…ouch.
I can’t speculate if junior guard Stevie Jordan will be playing today, but his 11 points per game and team-leading five assists will be missed if he isn’t.
I can report that Dimencio Vaughn will likely miss this contest. The Broncs’ second leading scorer at 12.7 points per game hurt his ankle against Northern Colorado and while there has been no official report, it was bad enough where he will miss multiple games. Vaughn was a first team All-MAAC selection last season and was a preseason first team pick this year.
That is a crushing blow.
Without Vaughn, the onus falls on Frederick Scott to pick up the production. He’s been outstanding this year, specifically in their last two games, averaging 19 points and 7.5 rebounds. He also made 11-of-12 free throws in the last game.
LINE: -10 VCU
Dan’s Bet: Under 142.5
Score Prediction: VCU 62 Rider 57