Northeastern (14-16) vs. Virginia Commonwealth (25-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 6:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Richmond Coliseum (11,992) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: CAA-TV, TCN, CSN-NE. Home Record: Northeastern 7-5, VCU 13-1. Away Record: Northeastern 6-11, VCU 10-3. Neutral Record: Northeastern 1-0, VCU 2-2. Conference Record: Northeastern 9-9, VCU 15-3. Series Record: VCU leads 7-6.
GAMES NOTES: The seventh-seeded Northeastern Huskies will try to pull off an upset when they take on the second-seeded Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament at Richmond Coliseum this evening.
Northeastern is coming off a 57-49 win over 10th-seeded William & Mary in the opening round of the tournament. The Huskies were the favorites in the game, but based on the regular season might have felt like underdogs as they failed to take down the Tribe in both meetings in the regular season. Overall Northeastern had a mediocre season with a 13-16 overall record and an even 9-9 mark in conference play.
This will only be the 14th meeting all-time between these schools and the second of this season. Virginia Commonwealth won a tight game 59-56 in that matchup and now leads the all-time series by a 7-6 margin.
VCU had an even better regular season than last year when the team made the surprise run to the Final Four. The Rams posted a 25-6 record overall and were second only to Drexel in conference play with a 15-3 mark. VCU entered the postseason riding a three game winning streak and has lost only one of its last 15 games with a 62-61 loss to George Mason the lone blemish during the stretch.
Offensive efficiency was not on display for either team in Northeastern's victory over William & Mary. Both teams shot below 40.0 percent from the floor with the Huskies at a miserable 34.0 percent but with a dominating edge on the boards (42-27) and the free-throw line (20-5), they were able to move on.
Northeastern has struggled on offense all season so its failures to score in the postseason are not surprising. The Huskies were the third worst scoring (62.7 ppg) and rebounding (31.9 rpg) team in the conference this season. Defensively the Huskies did keep themselves in games by allowing only 65.7 points per game. With most of the team slowed to a sluggish offensive pace, Quincy Ford (11.1 ppg) rose up to carry the Huskies on Friday. The freshman poured in 18 points which was his highest point total since he put in 21 point against William & Mary in early February. Jonathan Lee (14.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.1 apg) and Joel Smith (12.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg) were the more reliable scorers during the regular season.
VCU has been off since last Saturday when it downed George Mason 89-77 at home. Senior Bradford Burgess played the final home game of his stellar college career and did not disappoint, pouring in 31 points and pacing the Rams from beyond the arc (11-of-28) by knocking down 5-of-11 from three-point range.
Burgess' scoring actually went down this season from 14.3 points per game to 13.5, but the senior swingman was still the team's leading scorer. Sophomore forward Juvonte Reddic (10.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg) turned in a solid year in the post as the team's leading rebounder, while Troy Daniels (10.0 ppg) ended the season as the third player averaging in double figures. Shaka Smart's club has excelled at the defensive end this season, yielding only 59.6 points per game, which was the 20th best mark in the nation.
The last time these squads met up the game was a tight affair. Don't expect that this time as VCU will use its postseason experience, solid defense and the momentum from the end of the regular season to roll over the Huskies.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Commonwealth 70, Northeastern 55
03/03 10:43:30 ET