March 7, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. – State Champs.
It’s a bit of a running joke among VCU fans that the Rams were going for a state championship this year, with Virginia, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, George Mason and Richmond – i.e. the five best Division I programs in Virginia not named VCU – on the schedule. But now, with Thursday’s 56-50 triumph over Richmond, the Rams have actually “swept the state”, finishing 6-0 against those schools (barring any postseason meetings). Perhaps it’s important to recognize that and understand what it means, if anything.
First and foremost, VCU will receive nothing tangible for winning those six games (beating Richmond twice). This isn’t Philadelphia’s Big Five. There’s no trophy, no special recognition, not even a Chuck E Cheese pizza party for winning this thing we made up on the fly. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. It matters to the fans, who have stroked the fires of these intrastate rivalries. It also matters because going 6-0 against that group means you probably won some quality games.
It also mattered to Shaka Smart and the players. If you listened to Smart’s press conference Thursday night, you could gauge the importance.
According to VCU Sports Information Director Scott Day, this has never happened before. No school from these six programs (including VCU), has swept the group in the same season. You don’t think that’s a great recruiting tool? “Hey, (insert player name), you know those other Virginia schools that are recruiting you? Yeah, we beat them. All of them.”
March 6, 2014
VCU beats Richmond for the second time this season to advance to the A-10 quarterfinals. The Rams will meet top seed Dayton Friday at noon at the Coliseum.
March 5, 2014
More on this later, but I’ll let the video walk you through. A vast improvement, in my opinion.
March 3, 2014
The A-10 Women’s Basketball Championship kicks off on Wednesday at the Richmond Coliseum. VCU opens on Thursday at noon against Richmond. On Monday, second-year VCU Coach Marlene Stollings sat down to discuss the tournament.
March 3, 2014
March 1, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. – They call him the Freight Train, and that’s what Treveon Graham resembled as his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame rumbled down the sideline midway through the second half Saturday night.
Graham was chasing down a rebound, and despite his heft, the junior guard slipped past two Saint Louis players, grabbed the ball at midcourt and drew a hip-check foul. His momentum carried him into the path of 5-foot-9 VCU Coach Shaka Smart, who corralled him with an enthusiastic bear hug. The normally stoic Graham broke character and flashed a healthy smile.
It turns out, Smart was about the only person who could catch a Ram Saturday night. Saint Louis, ranked 10th in the country, certainly could not, as VCU staged a wire-to-wire 67-56 victory behind an opportunistic defense and a 49th straight sellout crowd at the Verizon Wireless Arena that lurched towards frenzy at every opportunity.
The victory was meaningful on a number of levels, for history – it was the highest-ranked team VCU had ever defeated at home – for the Rams’ NCAA Tournament resume, for its Atlantic 10 seeding, but it may have mattered most for pride. Since the Rams joined the A-10 last season, the Billikens were the only remaining member of the league VCU hadn’t cracked. Saint Louis defeated the Rams twice last season, once in St. Louis and once for the A-10 crown in Brooklyn, and then again at the Billikens’ Chaifetz arena on Feb. 15.
“It was definitely important. We had a mindset of payback from last year when they beat us in the championship game. Of course that’s always on our mind,” admitted junior guard Briante Weber, who provided 13 points and four of VCU’s 12 steals. “They had yet to come to VCU, and we wanted to give them the impression of what VCU’s like when you come in here.”
Amid a pulsating sea of gold – the product of an advertised “Gold Out” – VCU (22-7, 10-4 A-10) whipped itself into an aggressive, defiant state.
March 1, 2014
February 27, 2014
VCU Baseball is off to a 7-1 start this season, which can only be attributed to Scott Wyant’s decision to return to serve as the team’s SID this season and to make videos. Recently, Scott assembled this piece from the team’s opening road trip. If you don’t remember Scott’s work from his time as an undergrad in our office, you may remember this piece on Darius Theus and his dad, Ralph. VCU his home this weekend. They’ll host a three-game set with Temple beginning Friday at 3 p.m. at The Diamond.
February 20, 2014
The VCU Women’s Basketball team trailed St. Bonaventure by as many as 17 points in the first half Wednesday night and was still chasing 14 points at halftime. What did they end up doing? Winning by 17, naturally. VCU shot 46 percent (15-of-33) and hit six threes in the second half and turned the Bonnies – a 20-win squad – over 24 times in a 74-57 win. With that victory, the Rams improved to 20-6 overall, the sixth 20-win season in program history and the first since 2009-10. VCU is already nine wins better than last season. VCU (8-6) is also still very much alive for a top-4 seed in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament.