Thursday, November 7, 2013

Special SoCon Monster Game of the Week: The Citadel at VMI

With two teams that will be members of the SoCon in a year squaring off in their first game this
season, I could not resist doing a game preview. To me, this is the game I am most interested in this week. I know Davidson-Duke won the vote, and I will also write a preview of that game, but this game I found deeply intriguing.

The Citadel stunned VMI in Charleston a year ago, and has actually looked pretty good in the All Military Classic in the past. They beat VMI last year in round one, before falling in the championship. In 2011-12, they lost to VMI by three in the first round, before beating Army in the third place game. That was two pretty lousy years of Bulldog basketball on the whole. VMI has finished second and third in this tournament. (Army has finished fourth both years, while Air Force has won it both years.)

The Bulldogs are now without PJ Horgan due to injury and Mike Grosselle due to graduation. It appears CJ Bray is still playing basketball, though it appears he will not be around for this one (though my research can not verify that beyond a shadow of a doubt).

Marshall Harris III is the Bulldogs point guard. He commits far too many turnovers in the past, but is one of the leaders in assists in the whole country. Raemond Robinson shot 43% from three point range a year ago.

Matt Van Scyoc is the Bulldogs most important player. He is the player that is expected to breakout this year and replace Groselle productivity-wise. If the Bulldogs are a breakout team this year, Van Scyoc is likely to be one of the SoCon's biggest stars. He had an effective field goal percentage of nearly 54%. He can score, rebound and even play some defense. In some years, he may have won the SoCon Freshman of the Year. Last year, there were too many solid freshman in the SoCon for him to win it, but he was on the short list.

VMI LogoWe all know how fast VMI plays and how they try to force turnovers. DJ Covington is the Keydets best player. As a big man, he averaged 15.0 points and nearly eight rebounds per game a year ago. It's odd for the Keydets best player to be a big man, given their guard-oriented system. That being said, Covington has been very successful so it is hard to question the success.

Rodney Glasgow may be the Keydets most important player, even if Covington is the best player. Glasgow is the point guard that makes the entire system go. He averaged in double figures, while getting nearly five assists per contest.

They have many solid three point shooters. This is the Keydets strength- full court pressure, wildly fast paced offense and hitting down open three point shots. There are six new freshman on the roster, and that is something else that has marked this system- heavy and ready reliance on freshman.


The Keydets and the Bulldogs will play a close game. Why? Because it seems to be how it goes in this All Military Classic between these two teams. Can the Bulldogs pull off the upset in Lexington? Unlikely. The Keydets are likely to force Harris into too many turnovers. That being said, look for Van Scyoc to have a huge game and put his name onto early lists for Player of the Week consideratoin. In the end, Covington will be too much for the Bulldogs to handle without Grosselle or Horgan, and Glasgow will knock down a couple of critical threes. VMI 98, The Citadel 91.

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