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March 13, 2011Vanderbilt will face the Richmond Spiders in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in what will be just the third ever meeting between the two teams. The Spiders are coming off a banner year in which they won a school-record 27 games, and seven games in a row to end the season.
The Spiders were considered to be on the NCAA Tournament bubble before this weekend, but took matters into their own hands by winning the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Spiders defeated Dayton 67-54 on Sunday to gain the first A-10 tournament title in school history.
Seniors Justin Harper and Kevin Anderson were the key players for coach Chris Mooney's squad. Mooney has a 128-98 record in six years at Richmond.
Anderson, a 6-foot point guard from Atlanta, had 23 points to lead UR in the title game, the fifth time he's gotten 20 or more in the past six games.
Anderson was selected as the league's player of the year as a junior, and has a reputation for outstanding performance in the clutch.
Harper, who stands 6-foot-10, averaged 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds. He's been a model of offensive consistency, scoring double figures in all but two games. In the last 28 contests, Harper has scored at least a dozen each time.
The Spiders' best win was a 65-54 win over Purdue on a neutral court in the Chicago Invitational Tournament on Nov. 27.
You can expect a slow-down game from Mooney's team; Richmond averages 64 possessions, which ranks 295th in Division One.
Offensively, the Spiders do a lot of damage behind the 3-point arc. They hit 39.7 percent of their 3-point attempts, which ranks them 13th in America.
Harper (46.4 percent) and Anderson (42.6) are the top two marksmen, combining for 134 of UR's 257 makes behind the arc. But six Spiders hit at least a dozen 3s, and two other players, Dan Geriot and Darien Brothers, each hit at least 30 with a 40 percent success rate.
The Spiders also don't turn the ball over, committing miscues on 16.7 percent of possessions. That's the 16th-best rate in America.
However, Richmond doesn't rebound particularly well, ranking 293rd and 197th in offensive and defensive rebounding percentages.
Vanderbilt defeated Richmond 101-68 in Nashville during the 1977-78 season, and also won in Richmond by a 70-59 score the following season.