INTERSTATE 95 – There’s plenty of road separating Philadelphia and Richmond, most of it I-95 blacktop.
I was honored to chauffeur VCU hoopologist Mike Litos yesterday. There’s plenty of opportunity during that four-hour, 250-mile drive to discuss everything from affairs on the domestic fronts, to offbeat basketball stories from yesteryear, to how much caffeine is “safe” for daily intake.
We also talked a lot of VCU hoops yesterday. On the ride home, after we licked our wounds and recalled key moments of Sunday’s 84-76 loss at Temple, we took a step back (figuratively, of course). Mike did a nice job analyzing the Xs and Os of the game in his blog post today, so there’s no need for me to play that shot.
Since yesterday marked the end of the regular season, it seemed like a logical time to survey the Rams’ body of work. The question we asked each other was, regardless of Sunday’s outcome, if on Nov. 1, 2012, if I would have offered you a 24-7 regular season finish, including 12-4 in the A-10, two top 25 wins, several weeks in the top 25 and an all-but-assured at-large berth, would you take it? Of course you would. I would knock over my own grandma to shake hands on that one.
It’s a strange feeling, Mike and I agreed. For the first time in my tenure here at VCU, I’m not white-knuckling NCAA bubble teams’ results on Sportscenter. It’s liberating, quite frankly. Two years ago, Kentucky’s upset over Florida this weekend would’ve had me kicking trash cans. Not yesterday. The only emotion I felt was, meh – which is to say, no real emotion at all. It’s a nice change.
Theoretically, if the Rams had finished 16-2 in the CAA and lost in the semifinals this weekend, would we feel the same way? The best RPI – THE BEST – in the CAA right now is Delaware’s 132, so you tell me. Eleven of the 12 teams that qualified for the A-10 tournament have a better RPI than 132. VCU won six top 100 games in conference play this season. Even if the Rams had finished 18-0 in the CAA, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as valuable as those six A-10 wins.
So, while Sunday’s loss stung, as all losses do, I’m enjoying the long view today. The regular season was incredibly successful. Now it’s time to rattle some cages in Brooklyn.