Junior Juvonte Reddic led VCU with 16 points Saturday. He is one of three starters set to return in 2013-14.

Junior Juvonte Reddic led VCU with 16 points Saturday. He is one of three starters set to return in 2013-14.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Rob Brandenberg wasn’t ready to turn the page. It was too soon, the loss too recent, the pain still too raw. After VCU’s 78-53 loss to Michigan Saturday in the NCAA Third Round at The Palace of Auburn Hills, he wasn’t prepared to reflect on a season filled with a lifetime of highlights. Not yet.

“You know, later on in the future, but right now, I can’t do that,” he said.

It’s a cruel reality we face every season, one that VCU Coach Shaka Smart embraced in 2010 on the way to a CBI Championship, “very few teams get to end their season with a win”, he preached. Smart understood the value of that final win and how it can help frame the narrative of the season.

This season was like a freight train of success. There were a couple of hitches along the way, but for the most part, the Rams chugged along with a momentum and enthusiasm that has been captivating. At some point, we hitched a ride and celebrated the victories and the milestones and didn’t want to end. It felt more like a party bus. But the inevitability of a day like Saturday closed in. When a season comes to an end, it’s rarely a soft, comfortable glide into the station. It’s more like hitting the bumpers at the end of the track: sudden, jarring and painful.

Some people hold onto that feeling longer than others. Some let that one negative event color what has been five months of achievement. Don’t.

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