Pittsburgh - VCU Preview
Virginia Commonwealth Rams (11) Vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (3)
Saturday, 3/17 @ 5:50
Betting Line From Bookmaker: Pittsburgh -7.5
It happened in the final seconds, VCU’s victory over Duke in round one by a score of 79- 77. It was a two- point jump shot with five seconds on the clock by the Ram’s Eric Maynor that gave the 2007 NCAA Tournament its first upset. For the Pittsburgh Panthers, round one was simply an easy win over Wright State. State tied the game half way through the first period but by the half the Panthers had a 13-point lead and by the end the score was 79- 58.
Although the VCU Rams were out shot on the court 26- 61 (42.6%) to Duke’s 27- 58 (46.6%), it was at the foul line and three-point mark that the Rams beat the Blue Devils. VCU was 9 for 16 (56.3%) from downtown, while Duke went 3 for 11 (27.3%). Virginia Commonwealth also had better ball control, committing only 11 turnovers to Duke’s 17 and making 13 steals, while the Devils only took 5 away from the Rams.
Along with scoring 22 points, Maynor had 8 assists. Off the bench, junior guard Jamal Shuler had 14 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds. VCU offered a balanced attack with five players in double figures. Inside, junior forwards Michael Anderson and Wil Fameni had 7 and 6 rebounds respectively.
Pittsburgh enters the second round untested. With an attack that included 36 points from the bench, the Panthers made their mark by knocking in 10 of 21 (47.6%) from the downtown. Despite the lopsided score, the Wright State Raiders had 9 steals.
For the Panthers, senior center Aaron Gray posted 11 points and 9 rebounds, while junior guard Ronald Ramon led the team with 14 points. He also had 7 rebounds. Sophomore point guard Levance Fields notched 9 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds.
The Panthers have an arsenal of weapons, including a talented bench, while VCU proved that it can stand tough against a top team, battling back when down by 10 in the second-half. This looks like a good game. The success of each team’s inside game will be important in this contest.