I will never forget Eric Maynor’s pull-up jumper to defeat Duke in the 2007 NCAA tournament. After a one year absence, Maynor leads the Rams back to the Big Dance.
Here is a closer look at the VCU Rams of the Colonial Athletic Association:
VCU played a difficult non-conference schedule, but has only a win over NCAA tournament-bound Akron to show for it. The Rams lost to Oklahoma, Nevada, and Vanderbilt. VCU went 14-4 in the always-competitive CAA this season.
Senior guard Eric Maynor, a two-time CAA player of the year, leads VCU in scoring, assists, and steals. Maynor has improved his shooting throughout his career and has a chance to play in the NBA someday. Larry Sanders gives the Rams a tough inside presence. The 6′ 10″ Sanders is very athletic and has a huge wingspan. He improved his scoring throughout the season, and averages 11.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 2.7 bpg. Joey Rodriguez has a goofy-looking shot but is a 41 percent 3-point shooter. Kirill Pishchalnikov adds size to VCU’s lineup.
I love VCU, but UCLA is a tough draw. The Bruins got surprisingly low seed, but have a bevy of experience and a terrific backcourt. Maynor is dynamic but UCLA’s perimeter defense will likely frustrate him.
VCU is probably the hottest pick to be a bracket buster in this year’s tournament, but I don’t recommend picking the Rams. UCLA is one of most underrated teams in the field of 65 and has favorable matchups all over the court. I expect the Bruins to win in a close game.