VCU Rams1

Fifteen of VCU's 18 Atlantic 10 Conference games will be broadcast on national networks.

Fifteen of VCU’s 18 Atlantic 10 Conference games will be broadcast on national networks.

Big sportsball news today. No, not that deflated footballs thing. I mean, VCU released its full basketball schedule, complete with teevee information. As my 3-year-old says at the pool, let’s dive it.

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We’ve known about the non-conference schedule for weeks now, so I won’t get into that too much, other than to note CBS Sports Net picking up the Cincinnati game on Dec. 19.

Atlantic 10 Conference play begins on Jan. 2 with a familiar face. The Rams will welcome George Mason to the Siegel Center that day. VCU swept a pair of games from the Patriots last year. Mason, however, will look quite a bit different. Dave Paulsen, a TV sitcom dad look-alike, has taken over as head coach.

We’ve all been burned before by extrapolating a schedule’s strength based on the previous year’s standings, so I’m not going to go very far with that here. One particular stretch that could favor VCU, however, comes Feb. 13-27. During that period, the Rams will play three home games and won’t travel any farther than Washington, D.C. That said, it’s a stretch that also includes a rivalry game with Richmond, a contest with possible league-favorite Rhode Island, road jaunts to Mason and George Washington, and a home game against Davidson, which should be very good again this year. Who knows?

It sure looks like the A-10 is going to be a dogfight again. Rhode Island, Davidson and Dayton look to me to be contenders, and there are plenty of other clubs with reason for optimism. Richmond loses evil Ram-killing gnome Kendall Anthony, but returns a lot of other pieces. George Washington will be without Kethan Savage, but adds Wake Forest transfer Tyler Cavanaugh to a team that already boasts Patricio Garino and the A-10’s version of “The Big Fundamental”, Kevin Larsen. St. Bonaventure always finds a way to be tough, as does La Salle. Saint Louis was incredibly young last year and should improve. Saint Joseph’s has arguably the league’s best player in basketball Swiss army knife DeAndre Bembry. What I’m telling you is, I have no idea how the league is going to shake out right now. Should be fun.

On the TV side of things, 15 of VCU’s 18 league games will be televised on a national network, including a pair of the American Sports Network, which struck a deal with the A-10 over the summer. VCU fans will be happy to know the Rams will play at least five games under the ESPN umbrella. This TV information isn’t final, by the way. There’s still room for local and regional networks to scoop up games. You can plan on that.

Also, I’m going to just leave this here. If you guys know anybody who wants to play these guys, let me know.

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In non-basketball news, VCU Athletics has launched a student-athlete-focused subsite called “Behind the Uniform”. It’s our effort to tell stories from our student-athlete’s perspectives. One of the first pieces assembled specifically for “Behind the Uniform” is on Garrett Cyprus, who, is juggling soccer while pursing his degree in biomedical engineering. I want him on my team for trivia night.

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ALUMNI ROUNDUP
Here’s a nice update on former VCU Baseball star Scott Sizemore, who has battled injuries throughout his pro career. Sizemore is currently playing for the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Meanwhile, VCU tennis great Frank Moser will be playing in the U.S. Open this week, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

FULL WEEKEND AWAITS
Another full slate of fall sports awaits. I’ll be on the road with volleyball as the Rams head to UVA to face the Cavaliers, plus Iowa State and Appalachian State. Men’s Soccer is out in California, where they’ll play Cal and No. 16 Stanford. If you’re scoring at home, that’s three ranked teams in four games for VCU. The Rams don’t duck anybody.

Women’s Soccer will host Virginia Tech Sunday. Start warming up your Hokie hate now. Field hockey will open its home schedule with Central Michigan and Ohio. It’s free, so drop by Cary Street Field and check that out.

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