The VCU Rams basketball team will host the St. Francis Red Flash at Stuart C. Siegel Center on Tuesday for each team’s season opener.
The game (7 p.m. ET start time) will be televised on MASN locally, but anyone in the US can also watch it live online on ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of many VCU and A-10 basketball games this season, plus tons of other college basketball and live sports every week, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch VCU vs St. Francis live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
St. Francis vs VCU Preview
In their second season under head coach Mike Rhoades, the Rams went 24-9 in 2018-19, winning the Atlantic 10 with a school-best 16-2 conference mark. They fell in the first round of the A-10 Tournament, but earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament — their eighth trip to the big dance in nine years — then fell to the UCF Knights in the opening round.
In last year’s conference preseason poll, media members and A-10 coaches picked the Rams to finish seventh in the conference. This year, the Rams were picked to win the conference.
“We’re excited, I guess it’s better than seventh like last year,” VCU head coach Mike Rhoades told Andy Katz on ESPN+’s A-10 media day show, according to The Commonwealth Times. “It’s great for the program and the older guys, but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
In the preseason AP poll, media members ranked the Rams 25th in the nation.
Marcus Evans, a junior who transferred from the Rice Owls, led the Rams in points (13.6), assists (3.2), and steals per game (2) last year. The team held opponents to 61.9 points per game, the 10th-best mark out of 353 Division I teams. They scored 71 points per contest, ranking 222nd.
The Red Flash went 18-16 overall and 12-6 in Northeast Conference play last year — their seventh season under head coach Rob Krimmel — sharing the league’s regular season title with the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights.
St. Francis reached the conference tournament final, but fell to Fairleigh Dickinson to miss out on a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“It was heartbreaking losing the championship game here last year,” senior guard Scott Meredith said, according to The Tribune-Democrat. “We used that loss to push us in the summer and the preseason. It’s kind of nice to go from the hunted to the hunter, after two years of being picked first (to be picked third in the preseason this year).”
St. Francis will have two of their top three scorers back this season in senior guards Keith Braxton and Isaiah Blackmon.
The 6’4″ Braxton led the team with 16 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest in 2018-19. His 3.8 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game each ranked second on the team.
Blackmon ranked third on the team in points per game (12.2) and second in rebounds per game (4.8).
The Red Flashed scored 76.3 points per game last season, ranking 81st in NCAA Division I. They surrendered 76.1 points per contest, ranking 287th.
“This year, I want to be a defensive team,” Braxton said, per The Tribute Democrat.
“We already have the offensive prowess. I feel, if we combine that together, it not only will make us one of the best teams in the conference, but in the nation.”
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