Rawr.

2011-12 Record: 10-3 (2-0 CAA)
2011-12 RPI:
244
Guy to heckle:
Eric Bucker, Sr., F, 6-10 (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.9 bpg)
The skinny:
First-year Georgia State Coach Ron Hunter set out to change the culture of losing that has hovered over the Panthers since they joined the CAA in 2005-06. GSU certainly appears better in Hunter’s first year, but the Panthers’ dreadful strength of schedule (344) leaves them as somewhat a mystery.

However, on Monday, Georgia State fired a shot across the CAA’s collective bow when the Panthers dropped preseason favorite Drexel 58-44 in Atlanta. Was the game more of an indictment on Drexel or evidence of a Georgia State revival? We should have our answer by Thursday morning.

While their opponents generally haven’t been good, the Panthers have taken care of business, rolling to eight double-digit wins during their recent school-record 10-game winning streak.

GSU has also won some style points for being about 1,000 percent more interesting to watch than under defensive-minded (also read: offensively offensive) Rod Barnes. The Panthers are the CAA’s highest-scoring team (74.1 ppg), led by breakout sophomore guard Devonta White (13.5 ppg) and senior forward Eric Buckner.

In addition to being the most important VCU-Georgia State game in history (not hyperbole), Wednesday’s contest may be one of the most interesting to watch. Both teams use a multitude of presses and want to get out in transition. Win the turnover battle, win the game.

Fast facts: The Panthers’ lone NCAA victory came in 2001, when 11th-seeded GSU toppled No. 6 Wisconsin 50-49 in overtime… Tim Lampe, VCU’s director of facilities and Siegel Center operations, was a teammate of Ron Hunter’s at Miami (Ohio) in the 80s.

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