(13) Missouri (4-1) vs. Virginia Commonwealth (3-2)
Saturday, November 24, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Imperial Arena (4,500) -- Paradise Island, Bahamas. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Missouri 3-0, VCU 1-1. Away Record: Missouri 1-0, VCU 0-0. Neutral Record: Missouri 1-1, VCU 1-1. Conference Record: Missouri 0-0, VCU 0-0. Series Record: Missouri leads, 1-0
GAME NOTES: The 13th-ranked Missouri Tigers and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams will wrap up their stay in the Bahamas with the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Saturday night.
Missouri had lived up to its high ranking in the early going, winning its first three home games and then coming into the tournament and knocking off Stanford in the opening round, 78-70. The Tigers had trouble with the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals in the semifinals however, falling 84-61 in a game that got away from them in the second half.
VCU opened up tournament play with a 78-65 upset victory over nationally- ranked Memphis to advance to the semifinals to take on No. 5 Duke, which it fought hard against but ultimately lost, 67-58. The Rams are now 3-2 on the young season.
The teams have played just once before in their histories, with the Tigers winning in 1971.
After shooting just 36 percent from the floor in the opening round of the tournament, Missouri actually improved its shooting percentage to 46 percent against Louisville, but it went just 10-of-19 from the floor and allowed Louisville to make nearly 50 percent of its field goal attempts. Phil Pressey scored 15 points and dished out seven assists, but he also hurt his squad by shooting just 6-of-15 from the field and committing an uncharacteristic eight turnovers. Alex Oriakhi was much more efficient from the field en route to his 15 points (7-of-11) and he also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Pressey was right on his season average of 15.0 ppg, which leads the team, and Laurence Bowers is on his heels with 13.4 ppg. Oriakhi (13 ppg, 9.4 rpg) has been a force in the paint area, and Earnest Ross rounds out the double- digits scorers with 11 ppg. The Tigers took good care of the basketball through four games with just 45 turnovers, but they put up more than half that total in the loss to Louisville with 23 giveaways.
VCU hung tough with Duke, and it was down just one, 29-28, going into intermission, but the Blue Devils ripped off a 14-4 run in the opening minutes of the second half and the Rams could not recover. It was an off shooting night for the Rams, as they made just 21-of-63 from the field (.333), including a lowly 4-of-18 from three-point range. They also struggled from the foul line, making 12-of-19, while Duke made them pay for their foul troubles by making 24-of-27 from the stripe. Juvonte Reddic did his best to keep his team alive, recording a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 8-of-15 from the field. Reddic is performing like one of the premiere forwards in the country in the early going, racking up 14.6 ppg on nearly 59 percent from the field while adding 9.0 rpg and 1.8 spg to his stat line. Treveon Graham also put up 16 points in the loss, and he narrowly edges Reddic as the team's top scorer (14.8 ppg). The Rams are usually much more efficient from three-point range, draining nearly nine treys per game at a 42.9 percent clip.
VCU is always a tough draw, even if its appears to be a bit weaker this season than it has been in years past. It shouldn't surprise anyone if the Rams pull this one out, but Missouri is simply the more talented team across the court and it should be able to salvage a third place finish in the tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 80, Virginia Commonwealth 74
11/24 10:33:25 ET