Game of the Day
VCU Rams (6-5) vs. Liberty Flames (3-10)
VCU is back in action on Sunday when it plays host to the visiting Liberty Flames. The Rams are fresh off a dominating 90-69 victory over Buffalo last Tuesday, and after a quick holiday break, they’ll play two more non-conference games before starting Atlantic 10 play. Though the Rams have struggled their way out to a 6-5 start to the season, they should have no trouble winning a home game against a team that ranks 343rd out of 351 Division 1 teams by KenPom.
Liberty has struggled immensely, losing its last 9 consecutive games. Though they’ve certainly come close in a few of their contests, the Flames have yet to beat a Division 1 opponent. That shouldn’t change Sunday afternoon. That being said, Liberty does have some scoring power that mustn’t be forgotten about. Liberty’s sophomore Evan Maxwell is solid in the paint, averaging 14.2 points per game on 71% shooting from the floor. He also pulls down an average of 7.2 rebounds per game.
VCU should be happy to see that Melvin Johnson played very well in the Rams’ last matchup against Buffalo. He shot 7 of 11 from the field for 22 points to help shut down the visiting Bulls. Johnson had gone 0 for 11 for a mere 2 points in VCU’s close loss to Cincinnati last Saturday. He should be your player to watch for along with rising star Korey Billbury. The graduate transfer from Oral Roberts has really been a bright spot for a struggling VCU offense lately. He’s averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds over his last two contests.
It’s hard to believe that VCU will have any trouble whatsoever putting Liberty in its place. If anything, this should be a great tune up game for the Rams before they face North Florida and the eventual A10 schedule that awaits them. Look for Johnson to get hot once again, and if you’re a Ram fan, hope that JeQuan Lewis and Mo Alie-Cox start playing up to their full potentials.
Prediction: VCU 93, Liberty 62