Saturday, April 2, 2011

Road To Houston: VCU

I saved the best for last. The VCU Rams. I am from Richmond, Virginia. Both of my parents are MCV(Medical school for VCU) graduates. So, I am bias. But, I will be the first to admit that VCU should not have made it to the tournament. But, they did and have made the most of there opportunity. Here comes the story of the team that is trying to Shaka The World.
The Rams 2010-2011 season got off to an average start. They came close to knocking off #24 Tennessee in the Preseason NIT. They made up for it by upsetting UCLA in the 3rd place game. Following that, they dropped a game to South Florida, by 1, in overtime. Won another game, then got smacked by cross town rival Richmond. They then won 14 of their next 17 games, before losing to Notheastern. The  Rams then went .500 in their last 10 games. Getting destroyed by ODU and George Mason was part of this slide. They finished the CAA regular season as a #4 seed. They beat Drexel by 2, and then had the big win that most likely got them into the tournament. They destroyed George Mason in a game that was never close. This put The Rams in The CAA championship against ODU. The Monarchs took the early edge, but VCU has one of the most furious comebacks I have ever seen. This is when their confidence shooting the 3-ball first appeared. The 19 point deficit proved to be to much though. It appeared that The Rams season was over.
The team did not have a get together on Selection Sunday, because they thought there was no way they would get in. But, sure enough The Rams did. The talk from the experts about VCU's worthiness, or lack there of. The Rams were determined to prove them wrong. They are the #11 and were in Dayton for the First 4. They beat USC in a game they were supposed to lose. The Rams continued, and went on to destroy Georgetown. To finish off the weekend they defeated Purdue easily. In the Sweet 16 they topped FSU by 1 in OT. And then, there was the game. VCU was taking on #1 Seed Kansas. Kansas got off to a 6-0 start. The Rams turned it on and lead a majority of the way, and pulled off one of the best tournament upsets in recent memory.
No doubt The Rams will have their hands full tonight with Butler. Coach Shaka Smart has been stressing defense to this team since the beginning of this tournament, and do not look for that to change tonight. Of course it has been nice having the barrage of 3's every game.  Joey Rodriguez's ability to handle pressure will be one of the big keys in tonights game. Butler has one of the most stout defenses in the country, and they defend the 3 very well. How Jamie Skeen plays tonight will be the difference maker. The Rams will most have to work inside-out, like they did against Purdue.-Josh Neighbors

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