March 30, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. – If you haven’t heard, the original Around the Horns, Chris Kowalczyk is on a hiatus in the lovely city of Baltimore, so we’re going to try and sub in for the time being. Don’t worry though, we all watched this video to make sure we did the best job possible.
Back to the task at hand, last night our beloved “Big Shot Brad” Burgess took to the stage on ESPN one last time wearing a VCU jersey, this time in the ESPN College Three-Point Championships. You might not have known that since Brad Nessler insisted on calling him “Brandon” all night. It’s ok, we’ll let you slide Bob, it’s not like you shared the same name with him or anything.
If you didn’t tune in on time, you missed Brad as he was one of the first two shooters to take to the arc. I was a little worried as he’s not really a “competition” type shooter, but I did know he played in Tulane’s Fogelman Arena before, so was hoping that was to his advantage. I did not expect a scandal to rock Ram Nation and that’s exactly what happened…. Let’s watch the tape:
Now you might think it would be easy to count buckets, but apparently the guy keeping track last night had a few too many Hurricanes on Bourbon Street because if you watch it again, Brad should have 13 points, which would have tied him with Missouri’s Marcus Denmon, who made the semifinal round. It would have been nice for Brad to keep going, but he’s got the Reese’s NABC All-Star game today, so his weekend in New Orleans was just getting started.
As frustrating as it is, it was all in good fun and it was great to see an all-time great like Brad (or Brandon if your Brad Nessler) get some national TV love once again.
March 18, 2012
2012 NCAA Tournament, Darius Theus, Indiana Hoosiers, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart
Sophomore Rob Brandenberg helped VCU win a school-record 29 games in 2011-12. He scored 13 points Saturday.
PORTLAND, Ore. – Shaka Smart, one of the more well-read, media darlings in all of college basketball, seemed at a loss for words. When you’re a guy who can effortlessly quote Sun Tzu and Shakespeare, as Smart did this week, that’s hard to imagine.
But prior to his opening statement following VCU’s 63-61 loss to Indiana Saturday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at the Rose Garden, Smart paused, contemplated, let out a big sigh and shook his head. The moment lasted 10, maybe 15 seconds, but it perfectly conveyed his state of mind better than anything he could have said.
This one hurt.
The Rams held a nine-point lead with 12:20 to play and a 61-56 advantage with less than two minutes remaining. But VCU, nearing another stunning NCAA Tournament victory, watched it slip away in a hail of missed jumpers and an unrelenting Hoosier squad. Indiana scored the final seven points of the game, while the Rams were 2-of-15 from the field, including 0-of-8 from three, in the final 12:20. After Rob Brandenberg’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer fell short, Smart was there to comfort, putting his arm around his sophomore guard as they walked back to the locker room.
March 17, 2012
2012 NCAA Tournament, The Peppas
This video comes via Matt Norlander’s fantastic piece on the Peppas. You can find that here.
March 17, 2012
2012 NCAA Tournament, Briante Weber, Indiana Hoosiers, Rob Brandenberg, Shaka Smart, Tom Crean
PORTLAND, Ore. – You think VCU’s Havoc defense looks like a handful? Try preparing for it with less than two days notice. That’s the challenge for Indiana Coach Tom Crean and his staff.
VCU’s high-intensity full court press is hardly the norm in college basketball. A few notable teams run something similar, Missouri and Arkansas come to mind, but certainly no team in the Big Ten, where the Hoosiers reside, does. Other than its game against top-ranked Kentucky – a game IU won, it should be pointed out – did the Hoosiers face an up-tempo press like the Rams’. It’s that unfamiliarity that VCU hopes will keep the opposition guessing.
“There are a lot of reasons we play the way we play,” said VCU Coach Shaka Smart. “But one of the reasons we play that way is because it’s different from what teams are used to practicing in their own practices and playing against. In theory, our style is something that will be new for them tomorrow.”
VCU players agree that when the Rams have to face teams after a short turnaround, as in many NCAA Tournament games, Havoc comes in handy.
“I definitely think it’s an advantage,” sophomore Rob Brandenberg said. “It’s one thing to watch film, but it’s another to get on the floor and have game experience playing through the press and things like that.”
March 16, 2012
2012 NCAA Tournament, Bradford Burgess, Darius Theus, Garrett Stutz, Shaka Smart, Troy Daniels., Wichita State
VCU limited Wichita State to 31 percent shooting in the first half of Thursday's NCAA Tournament win over Wichita State.
PORTLAND, Ore. – Remember VCU? The darlings of March are back.
Led by charismatic 34-year-old Coach Shaka Smart, VCU scored the biggest upset of the first day of the NCAA Tournament with Thursday’s 62-59 defeat of fifth-seeded Wichita State at the Rose Garden.
A year removed from a stunning Final Four run, perhaps the most unlikely ever, VCU stole the show again. Last year doesn’t feel so long ago anymore. But while the uniforms are still black and gold and still read VCU on the front, these aren’t last year’s Rams. This team has been determined to leave its own mark. Thursday will go a long way towards that end.
Seeded 12th in the South Region, the Rams (29-6) toppled another single-digit seed, a feat they accomplished three times in 2011, but did it in their own way.
Last year’s squad featured an arsenal of 3-point bombardiers in Jamie Skeen, Ed Nixon, Joey Rodriguez and Brandon Rozzell. That team plowed through the field with offense. Thursday, as the Rams have done all year, VCU ground out an upset victory with unrelenting defense and timely shot making.
March 15, 2012
2012 NCAA Tournament, Eddie Benion
Athletic Trainer Eddie Benion did the the Iron Man Drill at Wednesday’s NCAA open practice. It was worthwhile.