The Progressive Legends Classic might not feel like the type of event where the world needs to stop, but there does happen to be a game under this event’s umbrella which hardcore college basketball fans should make some special time for. Especially when it is a battle between two highly touted teams, composed of extremely talented rosters whose two coaches dress better than John Gotti in his prime. That’s right, we have a scheduled competition between the number 12 ranked Villanova Wildcats and the 15th ranked VCU Rams. Let’s skip the rest of the introductory pleasentries and get you started on your Villanova vs VCU: Game Preview journey.
How To Watch
Date: Monday, November 24 (After Death?!)
Location: The Barclays Center (Brooklyn, New York)
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Standard Time
Live Stream: WATCHESPN
Villanova vs VCU: Game Preview
Without being too hyperbolic, Monday night might be one of the best out-of-conference match-ups scheduled for the entire season. Both teams are entering the contest 3-0 and are expected to be major players on a national level this season. With the Wildcats having a few more name-ish players that casual fans might know, the Rams are continuing their stretch of playing Shaka Smart’s Havoc style defense which put them on the map to begin with.
Players to Watch
Ryan Arcidiacono (code name: Ryan Alotofvowelos), Villanova, Forward
Ryan Arcidiacono is only a junior. I swear it. Despite him feeling like a twelfth-year senior Arcidiacono has not played his best basketball in the early parts of this season. His shooting percentage is down from over 39% last year to 31% so far this season. Even worse, his shooting from behind the arc has been so bad that if a weatherman was to forecast an idea how he would do from three he would call for a sprinkle of wretched with a chance of doom. I mean, Arcidiacono is shooting a woeful .231 from distance. However, Nova fans need not worry as these numbers aren’t indicative of his actual abilities, but there are red flags for an early slump. If Jay Wright wants to do more than just look good in a suit on Monday night he better hope Alotofvowelos starts playing the way people know he can, though.
Treveon Graham (code name: Grim Reaper), VCU, Shooting Guard
Treveon Graham was on everyone’s radar, but good lord has he made a jump in abilities. An already athletic and skilled guard/forward combo type, Graham has been devouring the souls of competition for three games now. Currently averaging over 18 points per game he scored a season high of 22 against Toledo and is constantly looking for ways to get buckets. His three-point shooting is up from last season, although it is worth noting that he is shooting under 40% from the floor. Regardless, 18ppg and 9 rebounds per outing are nothing to sniff at. Expect Graham to attack the basket early to get into a groove and work his way out to distance as the game progresses.
JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova, Forward
Pinkston has underperformed this season. There is no arguing against that. There are some silver linings in that otherwise ugly cloud, though. Nova is still undefeated and hasn’t even cracked the ceiling as far as how good they can play as a team is concerned. That is mostly because of Pinkston’s inabilities to get going offensively. All of his numbers are down from last year. He is attempting last shots, making them with less efficiency and getting to the charity stripe less than he did in his freshman campaign. Oh, and he hasn’t hit a single trifecta during the three-game-opening stretch. Again, all of that is fine because the Wildcats are still rolling, but Monday night is going to be a true test of their moxie.
Which Coach Will Dress Better
Will this have any impact on who wins this particular basketball game? Heck no. Still, I have a longstanding belief that the Big East Conference is comprised of the coaches who dress to impress the best in the entire nation. Between Steve Lavin making sneakers look good with suits, to the always slimming Ed Cooley looking divine in all shades of attire to Jay Wright making his wardrobe look as marvelous as his hair, few can compare with them. Still, Shaka Smart is hip to the fashion game. Unlike the Big East crew, though, I find his pants (er, slacks?) to put him over the top of most other foes.
Ugh, what did you want me to write? These two teams have played less than five games and it’s still November.
I am a notorious Big East homer. That sort of thing would usually sway me when I feel like a game is a coin toss. However, until the Wildcats’ players (Pinkston, Alotofvowelos) start to get going in a more consistent way, I have a hard time picking them against a VCU team who is known to pressure opponents into horrible decisions.
Nova 64, VCU 75
*Section Photo credit to Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kevin Jairaj, USA Today Sports