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Rams battle Hofstra for 1st place on ESPNU

Calling all 6th men, VCU needs you!

The Rams will host the Pride of Hofstra in a 7PM tip tomorrow night in a nationally televised battle for first place in CAA play.

The teams are currently tied at 8-1 in conference and coming off huge wins, VCU in surviving a game at Towson after knocking off rival Old Dominion in Norfolk, and Hofstra having just won a 2-point overtime thriller against 5th place James Madison after scoring an always tricky road W at William and Mary.

Hofstra packs the defending CAA Player of the Year, and this year’s Preseason Player of the Year, Charles Jenkins.

Jenkins is an NBA ready guard, among the best in the country, and the CAA’s top point scorer at 23.7/contest.

The Pride also play a 6’5 junior guard in Mike Moore who at 14.7 points a game eclipses all of VCU’s top scorers, with Jamie Skeen leading the Rams at 14.3 a night.

Both teams were picked to finish in the top half of the conference, but at 3rd (VCU) and 5th (Hofstra) in the preseason polls, these two newly lead teams may have shocked a lot of analysts in how quickly they’ve climbed to the top.

VCU is riding a 7-game win streak, and have won 9 of their last 10 under second year head coach Shaka Smart.

Hofstra comes into this one having won their last 3, as well as 7 of their last 8 under first year head coach Mo Cassara.

The Rams and Pride finished 5th and 7th in last year’s final CAA standings.

VCU went on to drop an overtime thriller against top-seeded ODU in the CAA tournament semis, Hofstra bowed out in quarterfinal action action the 2nd-seeded Northeastern Huskies.

The home crowd could be a huge advantage for the Rams in this first and only meeting between these teams this year. A win would not only give either team first place, but a crucial tie-break victory over the loser in the final conference rankings.

The top 4 teams at the end of the CAA’s regular season are rewarded with a Friday night bye come conference tournament time.

VCU will need a packed house to supply that edge for the Rams. Hofstra sports an impressive 7-1 road record this season, but have done so against an average attendance of roughly 1,800 fans.

The Rams are currently averaging more than triple that number, at roughly 6200 a game, good for 2nd most in the CAA.

VCU will look to sell out their first game in what could be a line of sellouts, following this one with a homecoming battle against UNCW, two locks to sellout against ODU and George Mason, and a Senior Night gamed to end the season against JMU.

Tickets are available through the VCU Box Office located at the west end of the Stuart C. Siegel Center or by calling (804) 828-RAMS. Fans can purchase a special two game package for thursday’s game and the February 12th home rematch against Old Dominion.