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Pregame Prep: A10 power VCU visits Reilly Center Saturday


Virginia Commonwealth at St. Bonaventure

4 p.m. at the Reilly Center; TV: CBS Sports Network

Records: VCU 17-5, 7-2. BONA 14-7, 6-3

The Set-Up: One of the Atlantic 10’s elite teams comes to the Reilly Center, and the Rams are on a roll. VCU has won three straight, including a win over Dayton. The Rams and Dayton are tied for first place. VCU has won 24 or more games 10 straight years and has gone to the NCAA Tournament six straight years.

A-10 Ratings: In the Pomeroy analytics standing the top six are Dayton (36th in the nation), VCU (46), Rhode Island (50), Davidson (68), Bona (98) and LaSalle (106).

Keys: VCU’s strengths are defense and rebounding. The Rams killed Dayton on the offensive glass last week and rank first in the A10 in offensive rebounding. The Rams don’t use the full-court “Havoc” press of former coach Shaka Smart. But coach Will Wade, in his second year, has a great half-court defense. VCU ranks 18th in the nation in turnovers forced (on 22.6 percent of possessions). Bona is not shabby either in forcing turnovers, ranking 71st (20.5 percent of possessions).  Bona is not a turnover prone team, ranking fifth in the A10 in protecting the ball. Bona's defense has been better in conference play. But Bona's perimeter shooting has tapered off. The Bonnies averaged 9.6 treys a game and shot .390 behind the arc non-conference. They're averaging 5.9 treys and hitting .327 against the tougher A-10 competition.

Top Bonnies: Bona’s Jaylen Adams ranks 15th in the nation in scoring (21.5 ppg) and 32nd in the nation in assists (6.2). Bona off-guard Matt Mobley leads the nation in minutes played (38.2 a game) and is fourth in the A-10 in scoring (19.2 ppg).

Top Rams: Point guard JeQuan Lewis leads in scoring at 14.5 ppg. Wing Doug Brooks stands fifth in the nation in steal percentage, getting 2 a game despite playing only 20 minutes a game. VCU has the top frontcourt in the A-10 with 6-7 bouncy athlete Justin Tillman (12.3/7.7), bruising 6-9 center Ahmed Hamdy-Mohamed and the ultimate power forward, 6-7, 250-pound senior Mo Alie-Cox (9.9/4.1). Enter the paint at your own risk.

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