Friday, April 1, 2011

VCU Basketball :Dialing long distance to a National Championship?

After barely making it into the NCAA Tournament, the VCU basketball team has advanced all the way to the Final Four. Everyone is buying VCU final 4 shirts like crazy - I'm waiting for the National Champion shirts to come out before I whip out my credit card!

ßome fans might not like that VCU and Butler have to play each other to advance to the NCAA Tournament's finale, but I like it for a few reasons: 1) The matchup between the two teams is very intriguing because each squad will be playing the underdog card; 2) how Bulter head coach Brad Stevens will game plan against VCU coach Shaka Smart (and vice versa) will be interesting to witness; 3) the fact that each team will be playing for a chance to take down one of colleges basketball's elite programs (either No. 3 UConn or No. 4 Kentucky) will crank up an already intense showdown; and 4) when Amazing (Butler) faces off with Miraculous (VCU), it does not get much better than that.

VCU has been arguably the most consistently impressive team in the NCAA tournament, going from one of the First Four participants to the Final Four. The Rams beat teams from five of the six BCS conferences, with four of the wins coming by double digits. In the Elite Eight, VCU pulled the biggest regional final upset since 2006, knocking off top-seeded Kansas.

VCU has been unreal from beyond the 3-point arc during the NCAA Tournament — the Rams have made at least eight triples in each of their five games, and have hit 12 in three of them. Butler has to figure out a way to make them uncomfortable from distance

Here are some amazing facts you might not know about VCU basketball:

Shaka Smart, currently VCU head coach - soon to be coaching a major school if history follows its normal course - is named after Shaka Zulu, the southern African king who united hundreds of thousands of people

John Calipari, coach of the University of Kentucky basketball team, will earn a bonus larger than the annual base salary of Virginia Commonwealth University coach Shaka Smart

Previously, VCU’s biggest accomplishment was producing the thrash metal band GWAR.

Don’t be surprised if … Brandon Rozzell shines on the big stage. The VCU senior can catch fire very quickly from beyond the arc — he had three 3-pointers in the second half against Florida State, then four in the first half against Kansas in the Elite Eight contest — and his confidence can invigorate his teammates. He could become a star, very quickly, on this stage.

The Colonial Athletic Association is experiencing a renaissance with an unbelievable stretch of two Final Four appearances in six years.That's one more than the Big 12, one more than Conference USA, two more than the Mountain West, Atlantic 10, WAC and any other conference outside of the Horizon (which has sent Butler in consecutive seasons) from the power six leagues.

VCU has now ruined more brackets than any team in tournament history. Diana Inch is the only person in the entire Yahoo! universe to accurately predict all four Final Four teams, an almost impossible task this year. Consider that Only 0.1 percent of entries had VCU in the Final Four.

VCU plays a style of basketball known as “wreaking havoc” through the heavy use of full court press (VCU led the CAA in steals this year).

Butler is among the smartest teams in all of college basketball and they're certainly the most experienced team left in this tournament. That said, they've been shaky with the basketball at the guard spot at various times along their journey. They almost collapsed and blew a 20 point lead when faced with Wisconsin's desperate full court pressure and they've had double digit turnovers in three of their four tournament games-without facing a true pressing team

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