VIDEO: SHAKA SMART OREGON PRESSER – JUST AN EXCERPT

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This is my first foray into recording and uploading interviews to YouTube on the phone because I’m old and technology scares me.

However, here’s a portion of Shaka Smart’s press conference following VCU’s 77-63 win over Oregon Tuesday at the Legends Classic at Barclays Center. Here, Smart discusses VCU’s defense on Oregon leading scorer Joseph Young, who came into the game averaging 24.5 points per game and finished 2-of-13. Smart also talks on Treveon Graham’s recent foul troubles.

GROWING PAINS BETTER IN NOVEMBER THAN MARCH

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Senior Briante Weber led VCU with 13 points and five rebounds Monday.

Senior Briante Weber led VCU with 13 points and five rebounds Monday.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – On Monday, VCU played its fourth game in a 31-game regular season. It was the 11th day of the 115-day of the 2014-15 campaign. It didn’t go well. Okay, it went very bad. Okay, it was like getting hit by a subway car.

Look, there’s nothing I can write to rub out what transpired Monday night on the Barclays Center floor. After 22 minutes of really competitive basketball, 12th-Villanova blitzed VCU on the way to a 77-53 win. That’s a cold, hard reality.

But before we lose ourselves in an ugly box score, remember that after tonight, there were only 104 days left until the Atlantic 10 Tournament on this Barclays Center floor – more than three months. The season is roughly nine percent complete.

History is also on the side of Shaka Smart and the Rams. Without so much as turning a page in the media guide, one can point to underwhelming performances by the Rams at the 2011 Charleston Classic early in a season that ended within a hair of a Sweet 16 appearance. Just over a year ago, VCU absorbed an 85-67 loss at the hands of Florida State in Puerto Rico. That was a runaway train from start to finish. The Rams won 23 more games after that and 26 overall.

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VIDEO: RAMS DOWN ROCKETS 87-78

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HIGHLIGHTS

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POSTGAME

LEGENDS OF THE FALL; SCHEDULE TAKES SHAPE AS VILLANOVA DATE REVEALED

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legendsThe full Legends Classic bracket was released this morning, revealing a VCU-Villanova matchup on Nov. 24 at Barclays Center. From there, it’s either Oregon or Michigan on Nov. 25. No matter what, VCU was going to get two great, tough games out of this trio, but Villanova might represent the biggest challenge in the field. The Wildcats were 29-5 last season, and although they lose leading scorer James Bell to graduation, they return a ton of talent, as well as Jay Wright’s impressive wardrobe.

You’ll also notice a date with Maryland-Eastern Shore in the bracket, which gives additional clarity to VCU’s 2014-15 schedule. Here’s what we have so far, and I’m told the rest will be released soon:

Nov. 14 vs. Tennessee (at Annapolis, Md.) – Veterans Classic
Nov. 18 – Toledo (Home Opener)
Nov. 20 – Maryland-Eastern Shore
Nov. 24 vs. Villanova (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – Legends Classic
Nov. 25 vs. Michigan or Oregon (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – Legends Classic

This does not include known dates with Virginia, Cincinnati and Old Dominion, as well as others. As it stands, the Rams are already slated to meet teams from the SEC, [New] Big East, [Old Big East] American Athletic, ACC and Big Ten/Pac-12. Plus, Toledo was arguably the best team in the MAC last year.

There will not be a lack of potential RPI boosters in this year’s schedule. If the Rams play well, they’ll have every opportunity to earn a high NCAA Tournament seed. Of VCU’s known potential opponents for next season, 10 – Villanova (8), Virginia (10), Michigan (11), Cincinnati (22), Saint Louis (24), UMass (26), Oregon (27), Dayton (33), Tennessee (37) and Toledo (43) – were ranked inside the RPI top 50 last year. That doesn’t guarantee those teams will enjoy the same success in 2014-15, but it does speak, in a general sense, of the competition VCU has assembled in this year’s schedule.

Also, four out of VCU’s first five games will be televised on national TV, with more on the way. These are the salad days, folks.

2014 LEGENDS CLASSIC BRACKET

2014 Legends Bracket.xls

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