January 16, 2008 11:05 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
Delaware at Virginia Commonwealth (Colonial)
Siegel Center - Richmond, VA
7:30 PM EST
A lot of stuff's changed since last time these two teams met, back on Dec. 20, 2006 when the Rams mopped the floor with Delaware 79-60. Like, for instance, the inherent basketball power that the Blue Hens contain, as they were suiting up eight players at the time and still searching for their first win of the 2006-07 season.
This year's Delaware squad, on the other hand, is collecting league wins like they were game tickets in an elaborate fast-food promotion. It's the only perfect 5-0 team in the CAA (8-7 overall), so how are they doing it? Perimeter defense! Rebounding! The first is less shocking, since that's a point of emphasis anyway with this team, and the Hens have been allowing around 27.5 percent from 3 all season. The rebounding bit, though, that's a surprise. Overall, this is the worst rebounding team in the league with 28.1 rpg, but in the five league wins, Delaware's been averaging a CAA-best 34. A lot of that's thanks to the team's pair of 6-6 glass-crashers, junior Marc Egerson and senior Herb Courtney. Together, they make a beautiful 12.9 rpg monster, like in the shoe ads.
But nobody in the country defends the 3 as well as VCU (11-4, 4-1 CAA) does -- only 26.4 percent of opponents' bombs find the mark. That won't matter tonight, because that's not Delaware's thing, but the Eric Maynor- led Rams will offer the toughest general defensive challenge the Hens have faced since league play began. This game will likely come down to skilled size, and VCU may have the edge there with players like 6-7 seniors Michael Anderson and Wil Fameni. But on the whole, this looks like a fairly evenly pitched defensive battle, one that might just give Delaware its third consecutive win over the traditional Virginia-based power center of the league, and snap a losing streak to VCU that stretches back eight games to 2003.
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