After Friday afternoon’s 73-68 victory against the Dayton Flyers, the VCU Rams are in a great position to appear in March Madness. VCU’s patented havoc defense is present yet again, and they have a star player to lead the offensive charge. How will the Rams perform this March?
VCU’s Potential March Madness Star?
The driving force behind VCU’s offensive attack is Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland. Hyland leads the Atlantic 10 conference in scoring at the mark of 19.2 points per game. The 6-foot-3 guard has been pretty efficient this season as well. He shoots 44.1% from the field, 38.1% from three and 88.4% at the free throw line.
Hyland is the leader in steals for VCU’s havoc defense with two steals per game. The Rams forced 15 turnovers in the last two regular season games. Hyland missed both of these games due to a sprained foot. Friday afternoon, Hyland returned and VCU forced 21 turnovers against the Flyers. Hyland also contributed on the defensive end with three steals. The Rams’ guard is a vital piece to their havoc defense.
Hyland showed his star power in Friday’s game against Dayton. The 6-foot-3 guard was a nightmare for the Flyers. Hyland had 23 first half points and knocked down some ridiculous shots. The fact this was Hyland’s first game back from injury is even more impressive. Lighting a defense up with 30 points shooting 61.1% and 3/7 from three is special. Hyland was even hitting contested shots from well past the three point line.
Bones Hyland is in a long distance relationship with basketball.
— VCU Basketball (@VCU_Hoops) March 5, 2021
This ability to completely take over games is vital for the Rams in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Many mid-major stars have been born in the month of March, and Hyland could be yet another star born in March Madness.
Defense Creating Havoc
VCU has been known for their press defense since their 2011 NCAA Tournament run. The Rams’ identity on defense is havoc defense. Havoc defense is exactly what it sounds like, creating havoc. VCU’s defense is built on forcing turnovers. The Rams force their opponents to become frantic through a hounding, suffocating full-court press defense.
In the 2020-21 NCAA season, VCU has another defense creating havoc. The Rams are third in the country in 9.6 steals per game. They are also second in getting a steal 11.7% of possessions. VCU is ninth in 17.1 opponent turnovers per game and ninth in opponent turnover percentage. The Rams clearly create chaos on the defensive end this season.
VCU is a great perimeter defensive team as well. They hold opponents to 29.4% from three and only allow 5.6 made threes per game. In modern basketball, many teams rely heavily on threes. If VCU has the ability to limit threes, this will help them tremendously in March Madness.
Projecting the Rams
Most brackets are projecting VCU as an eleven seed right now. The Rams could see a rise in their seeding if they defeat the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in the Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinal this Saturday. If they were to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament, their seeding will rise even more.
The idea of seeing the VCU Rams as an eleven seed could spell trouble for some potential six seeds. Whether the Rams are an eleven seed or move up to a 9-10 seed, they have a good chance of upsetting a team in the first round. Could VCU make a run to the Sweet 16? Of course they could as anything is possible in March Madness. VCU fueled by their havoc defense and star player Hyland could grab a win or two in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
All stats courtesy of ESPN, Kenpom and Team Rankings.