Virginia Commonwealth Basketball

NCAA Scores 2012: VCU's Pressure Defense Will Suffocate Indiana

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 15:  Joe Ragland #1 of the Wichita State Shockers and Treveon Graham #21 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams battle for the ball in the second half in the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Rose Garden Arena on March 15, 2012 in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Austin GreenCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2012

The Indiana Hoosiers cruised through the Round of 64, but they face an insurmountable roadblock on their path to the Sweet 16: the VCU Rams and their full-court press.

The Rams' end-to-end pressure is unlike any defense in the country. Calling it intense or inconvenient or bothersome would be a horrible understatement. The press has suffocated some of the best teams in the country, causing physical and psychological meltdowns wherever it goes.

The cool kids at VCU call it "Havoc," which fittingly sounds more like a military operation than a basketball strategy.

The goal of the Rams' press is to scramble the brains of their opponents, creating mass confusion and mental mistakes. They relentlessly attack, attack, attack, until the other team simply collapses under the pressure.

Need proof? Just check out them destroying teams on their road to the Final Four last year.

While some of the faces have changed since last season, the defense is still vicious. In fact, coach Shaka Smart has repeatedly said that this team plays even better defense than last year's edition.

That's bad news for the Hoosiers, a team that struggles away from home and features a backcourt with a penchant for turnovers.

Sophomore Victor Oladipo is prone to coughing up the ball, posting multiple games with five turnovers this season. And junior Jordan Hulls—who played phenomenally in the Round of 64—has also been known to get careless with the rock.

I'm expecting Bradford Burgess, Darius Theus and the rest of the Rams to get inside their heads. They will use their length, athleticism and relentless pressure to wear down the Indiana guards.

When the chaos ensues, VCU just needs to capitalize on the Hoosiers' mistakes. If they do, you'll be able to pencil the Rams in for another Sweet 16 appearance.

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