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USC vs. Virginia Commonwealth: A scouting report

What each team must do to win Wednesday's NCAA tournament first-round game at Dayton, Ohio

March 15, 2011|By Baxter Holmes

A look at USC's first-round NCAA tournament game against Virginia Commonwealth

STARTERS

VCU; Ht; Wt ;Stats; Pos.;USC; Ht; Wt; Stats

D.J. Haley; 7-0; 250; 1 ppg; C ;Alex Stepheson; 6-10; 250; 10 ppg

Jamie Skeen; 6-9 240; 15.3 ppg; F; Nikola Vucevic; 6-10; 260; 17.3 ppg

Ed Nixon; 6-4; 210; 7.4 ppg; G; Marcus Simmons; 6-6; 220; 5 ppg

Bradford Burgess; 6-6; 225; 14 ppg; G ;Donte Smith; 5-11 ;180; 9.9 ppg

Joey Rodriguez; 5-10; 175 ;10.6 ppg; G; Jio Fontan; 6-0; 175 ;10.4 ppg

RESERVES

Brandon Rozzell; 6-2; 190; 11.3 ppg ; G; Maurice Jones;5-7; 155; 9.9 ppg

Rob Brandenberg; 6-3; 160; 5.4 ppg; G/C; Garrett Jackson; 6-7; 215 ;3.3 ppg

SCOUTING REPORT: The Rams, known for their "havoc" brand of basketball, play man-to-man defense about 70% of the time, along with a 1-2-2 zone and a full-court trapping press to force turnovers. USC Coach Kevin O'Neill expects them to double-team Nikola Vucevic down low. Offensively, VCU attempts nearly 30 three-point shots per game, which will spread USC's man-to-man defense and may result in some long rebounds.

KEY TO THE GAME: USC is 13-0 this season when it holds its opponent to fewer than 60 points, so it needs its perimeter defense to limit the Rams' three-point shooters — they have six players who have made 25 or more — and grind down VCU's up-tempo offense. For VCU, it's getting Vucevic and Alex Stepheson in foul trouble and turning the game into a track meet.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

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