Projected Starters for Illinois State:
PG- Kaza Keane #0 SG- Zach Lofton #23 SF- Nick Zeisloft #15 PF- John Jones #10 C- Michael Middlebrooks #25
Sophomore- 6’1 Sophomore- 6’4 RS Sophomore-6’4 Junior- 6’9 Junior- 6’9
C- Reggie Lynch PG- Bobby Hunter SG- Tony Wilis PG- Daishon Knight
Freshman- 6’10 RS Junior- 5’10 Freshman- 6’3 Junior- 6’1 ✶Suspended Indefinitely
Characteristics of ISU:
- Not a single guy on the roster has played a minute under predecessor Tim Jankovich and only 2 scholarship players(Kaza Keane and Nick Zeisloft).
- They have very young talent.
- They have good size in the front court.
- Coach Muller wants the Redbirds to play fast and be a tough defensive team.
Advantages/Disadvantages for the Rams:
- VCU will definitely will be the deeper team compared to ISU.
- The talent for VCU should overwhelm ISU early and often throughout the game.
- This ISU team has not really ever player together so VCU should easily expose their new guards in the press.
- The Rams must get used to the NCAA’s new rules of hand checking and not get into foul trouble early in the press.
- There will most likely be some struggle from the rams in the half-court part of the offense with just being careless with the ball and passes just being a little off.
Key Player for the Rams and Redbirds:
The new leader of the team Briante Weber will be starting out the season as this years new starting point guard. Weber must show that he has developed over the summer from not just a defensive specialist but into a complete guard. For VCU to have a successful season this year, Weber must provide composure in leading the offense and still be the relentless defensive player in the press. He must avoid fouling early and it also would help the team if he could get his offensive game going during this game.
The point guard will have to break the overwhelming press of VCU all night. If ISU has any chance of upsetting the rams they will need Keane to not just break the press, but also keep the offense composed and execute their game plan. They want to be an up-tempo team, but they might not want to try that game plan versus the VCU, when they don’t have much depth to run with the rested bodies of VCU.