Nov 6, 2023 - Sports

Ryan Odom leads new-look VCU men's basketball team

The 2023-24 VCU Rams. Image: Courtesy of VCU Athletics

Havoc is back — but with a twist this year.

What's happening: VCU men's basketball and new head coach Ryan Odom tip the season off tonight at the Siegel Center against McNeese State.

The intrigue: It's the start of a new era for the Rams, who are defending last season's A-10 tournament win and NCAA Tournament bid with lots of new players and a new style of play.

  • Unlike the most recent two bosses, Odom never worked as an assistant for legendary VCU coach Shaka Smart, who led the Rams on their remarkable 2011 Final Four run.

Why it matters: We should expect the biggest diversion in over a decade from the high-octane defensive style that Smart and his heirs branded as "Havoc."

But, but, but: Odom has a track record of offensive-minded ball that saw his previous team, Utah State, rank in the top 20 nationally for offensive efficiency last season, according to Kenpom.

  • And who says "Havoc" can't involve scoring lots of points?

What to expect: The Rams finished first in the A-10 last season and won the conference tournament before losing in the first round of March Madness.

  • Repeating those heights will be difficult for a rebuilt team, but coaches and the media picked the Rams to finish second in the conference behind Dayton this year. (The University of Richmond was picked to finish 11th.)

Games to watch:

  • In-state rival Radford visits on Nov. 15. MASN/ESPN+. Tickets.
  • Norfolk State will come all the way from Hampton Roads Dec. 1. MASN/ESPN+. Tickets.
  • Memphis, which finished last season ranked No. 24, will be at the Stu Dec. 6. ESPNU. Tickets.
  • The Rams will look to serve revenge at home against Temple on Dec. 16 after losing to them last year. MASN / ESPN+. Tickets.

Worth noting: VCU will play Iowa State in Orlando on Thanksgiving for the ESPN Events Invitational, then Boise State or Virginia Tech in a second round of that tournament. They could also play Penn State, Texas A&M and FAU in their third game in Florida.

Go deeper: Get to know Ryan Odom

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