Virginia Commonwealth (22-7) at Richmond (18-11)
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Commonwealth Rams look to sweep the season series from Richmond on Thursday when the Atlantic 10 foes collide at the Robins Center.
Following their first set of back-to-back losses, Shaka Smart's team posted its second straight win Saturday, 67-56, at home against conference-leading Saint Louis. The Billikens were ranked 10th in the nation when the Rams pulled off the victory. Treveon Graham had 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals for VCU, which held an 11-1 margin in offensive rebounds and a 13-0 spread in second- chance points in the first half. Briante Weber tallied 13 points and five boards for the Rams in their 19th straight home win.
Graham (15.8 ppg) leads the charge for the Rams, while Juvonte Reddic (12.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Melvin Johnson (10.5 ppg) are also part of a team that averages 75.9 ppg while giving up 66.4 ppg. VCU is limiting its opponents to 29.7 percent from 3-point range. The Rams are also getting 9.4 ppg from Weber and 9.3 ppg from Rob Brandenberg. Weber is VCU's all-time leader in steals.
The Rams come into this game 10-4 in the Atlantic 10, which is a half-game behind Saint Joseph's for second place. VCU is a half-game in front of Massachusetts and George Washington.
The Spiders are tied with Dayton for the sixth-best record in the conference. Richmond is coming off a 66-43 loss at Rhode Island on Saturday. The Spiders, who set a new low in single-game points this season, were led by Terry Allen's 15 points. Richmond shot 21.1 percent (12-of-57).
Richmond is second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense, allowing 65.5 ppg. The Spiders are third in the conference and 13th in the country in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.292). Kendall Anthony (15.7 ppg) paces the Atlantic 10 in scoring in conference play at 18.5 ppg. He had scored in double figures in 20 straight contests, until being limited to eight on Saturday. Freshman ShawnDre' Jones, who has scored in double figures in five of the last seven contests, is averaging 13 ppg in that span.
VCU has won nine of the last 11 meetings, including an 81-70 decision on Feb. 1 this season. Reddic registered a double-double with 11 points and a game- high 10 rebounds, while the Spiders were paced by Anthony's 31 points on 10- of-21 shooting from the floor before he fouled out. The Rams are primed to continue the dominance in the series. The Spiders need to figure out what went wrong offensively at Rhode Island, but against a team that gives up only 66.4 points, scoring will be at a premium for Richmond in this one.
GAME NOTES: The Virginia Commonwealth Rams look to sweep the season series
from Richmond on Thursday when the Atlantic 10 foes collide at the Robins
FACTS & STATS: Site: Robins Center (7,200) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television:
CBSSN. Home Record: VCU 14-0, Richmond 12-3. Away Record: VCU 5-5, Richmond
5-7. Neutral Record: VCU 3-2, Richmond 1-1. Conference Record: VCU 10-4,
Richmond 8-6. Series Record: VCU leads, 43-26.Game Date and Time
Thursday, March 6, 9 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Virginia Commonwealth 70, Richmond 66