College Hoops Player of the Day for Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) appears ready for another wild ride through March as the Rams won their seventh straight, topping St. Joe's, 91-81, behind JeQuan Lewis' career-high 34 points.
Unranked despite a 21-5 record and an 11-2 mark atop the Atlantic 10 conference (tied with Dayton), VCU has been a mainstay of March Madness since the 2010-11 season in which second year head coach Shake Smart took them to the Final Four. After another year dmeolishing the Colonial Athletic conference in 2011-12, the Rams moved to the Atlantic 10 and continued their excellence.
Smart moved on to the University of Texas following the 2014-15 season, replaced by Will Wade, who guided the team to a 25-11 season, a tie for first in the conference and another NCAA appearance. The Rams were knocked out in the second round, but notice had been served that VCU was still on track, becoming one of the small conference powerhouses in the NCAA.
In Tuesday's home win, Lewis took just one shot that was not from beyond the 3-point line and missed it. He did, however, can 9 of 15 from downtown and made seven of nine from the foul line, adding five assists in 36 minutes on the court.
The 6'1" senior out of Dickson, Tennessee, leads the Rams in both scoring and assists, averaging 15.6 points and 4.5 assists per game.
The Rams have five games left in their regular season, including a key rematch at Dayton, tied with VCU in the A-10 standings. VCU kncked off the Flyers, 73-68, back on January 27.
A first or second place finish in the conference and a good showing in the conference tourney should be enough to land the Rams their seventh straight NCAA invite.