VCU’s ‘havoc’ defense too much for UMass and Chaz Williams

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NEW YORK — You will never mistake a VCU Rams basketball game. You can’t. It’s impossible.

Ram Nation isn’t a fan base as much as it is a congregation of wild celebration and intimidation.

The band is no ordinary pep band. It’s a rowdy accompaniment of brass, belting out paeans and rallying cries.

“Havoc” isn’t just the term of VCU’s trademark defense, it’s the embodiment of the entire Ram Nation. From the players, to the coaches, the staff, fans and band members. There’s even a havoc tour bus.

On Saturday afternoon the perfect storm of organized chaos, both on and off the court, overwhelmed UMass and their diminutive yet explosive guard Chaz Williams, defeating the Minutemen 71-62 in the Atlantic 10 semifinals at The Barclays Center.

Williams is one of, if not the most explosive guards in the country. But even he, a Brooklyn-native playing in front of his family and friends could not withstand the constant onslaught of pressure, physicality and well, havoc. The Rams forced 24 Minutemen turnovers, with eight players recording at least one steal.

Troy Daniels finished with 20 points and made six 3-pointers. Juvonte Reddic finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

UMass actually got out to an early lead. For the first 10 minutes of the game, the havoc defense didn’t seem to have an effect on UMass as they got up by as many as nine. But as VCU continued to apply maximum pressure, the Minutemen begin to crack. VCU led by one at the half and never trailed in the final 20 minutes.

UMass didn’t want to go away, but VCU made sure the Minutemen didn’t get too close.

Chaz Williams finished with 18 points and four assists, but also five turnovers. He finished the three-game run with 64 points, 17 assists and 7 steals.

The Rams will attempt to inflict havoc on Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 tournament finals. The two teams met once during the regular season, with the Rams falling on the road, 76-62. But Troy Daniels realizes that their performance in St. Louis was not the type of play they expect of themselves and that they are playing at a much higher level.

“When guys go out there on the court and they have VCU across their chest, they feel like they can do anything.”

Havoc is just that. Being able to do anything you want. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, and when it’s working, it’s very difficult to stop.

(Via @BrookeWeisbrod)

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.