By Mike Litos
SAN DIEGO – The plane leaving Richmond for San Diego last night was delayed. Considering it was originally a 7:30pm departure that was due to land more than five hours later, that could’ve been a painful wait. You know how it goes, the feeling of it’s going to be a long night, and this makes it longer.
It turns out not so much.
Without that delay, I would not have seen Juvonte Reddic gleefully playing with assistant coach Jeremy Ballard’s son. Reddic’s wide smile matched that of the toddler’s as he flew higher and higher into the air and then settled into the 6-9 Reddic’s arms again and again.
I would not have seen a 5’2″ security agent wanding Mo Alie-Cox. Picture that for a moment. Ditto Doug Brooks, who instead of spreading his arms wide for the scan flexed his biceps. Jarred Guest was wearing a throwback VCU baseball hat, and by throwback I mean to the 1980s. Melvin Johnson was there, too, and he still has both legs intact.
Shaka Smart stood quietly with his daughter Zora in his arms. Both were patient and demure. The picture, if anybody dared to try to snap it, would be on the Smart’s refrigerator.
The point: I don’t know what other schools across the country have, but a gigantic family flew to San Diego last night.
As for scheduling, the players will meet the media at 3:45 today, followed by Coach Smart at 4:00pm. SFAs media time is 5:15 and 5:30. That’s local time. I’ll offer up the best of the media minutes from both SFA and VCU later today.
VCUs open practice begins at 4:25pm. That will be the fun-fest you normally see, just the players getting used to the arena floor and shooting background. You can bet VCU will wake up the space, but there won’t be anything of interest there. The Rams, like all teams, will find a gym in town to have a “real practice.” Neither you nor I get those details.
Side note: here’s a link to the CSL blog that will also update thoughout the tournament. Greg Burton and Zach Reynolds will offer up their thoughts on the experience as well. Good stuff, but I hope nobody pinches Greg.
What would this space be without stats? Here’s a few nuggets to chew on as you watch games this afternoon:
VCU is 23-7 in the postseason under Shaka Smart. VCU is 28-8 in March under Smart.
Who shoots more–VCU has hoisted up 313 more shots than its opponents. SFA has shot 359 more times than its opponents.
VCU is one of seven teams with an opportunity to win an NCAA tourney game for the fourth straight year (Kansas, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse, Florida).
VCU is one of only three teams with at least 26 wins in each of the past five seasons. Kansas and Ohio State can join that group with wins in the NCAA tournament.
VCU is 19-1 in games in which it has shot 40% or better.
SFA has been held to less than 70 points only twice since February 1. The Rams have not allowed any of their past seven opponents to score more than 67 points. Overall, teams in those seven games are scoring 58.9ppg. VCUs defense is ranked second in the nation by Ken Pomeroy.
Title courtesy of Chris Kowalczyk.