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VCU 70, Richmond 67: A New Stat, And A Made Up Word Returns…

The last time VCU met Dayton was in last season's Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship game.

I’ve seen everything I needed to see.

After the Fordham victory, Shaka Smart said that the dam was going to burst soon. He shook his head and had that look in his eye like we were thisclose to a cleansing flood of made shots. It was within arm’s reach, as if he was reaching into the kitchen cabinet for a jar of peanut butter but could only get his fingertips on it. Each try pushed the jar just a tad farther.

And while it wasn’t a full bursting, cracks appeared in the dam in yesterday’s stirring victory over Richmond in the A10 quarterfinals. Smart has his hands on the peanut butter. That was a victory chock full of sonofabitchness.

The shots stopped falling in the second half, and Kendall Anthony was doing his best Kendall Anthony impersonation. The Spiders went up 48-40 and were playing with tremendous confidence. Richmond had a certain look that upped the stress level.

Then it kicked in. You see, the essence of sonofabitchness is scratching and clawing and staying true to your team goals until the ultimate opportunity–the chance to make a play–presents itself.

And did they ever.

Mo Alie-Cox, who had zero points and zero rebounds to that point, grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a stickback. Treveon Graham hit two free throws.

(Side note: VCU was 16-19 from the line. Richmond was 0-5. Hoo-boy.)

JeQuan Lewis hit a three and two free throws. Doug Brooks–my man Dougie B–hit that corner three, and then had the presence of mind to drop a pass to Cox on the block for an old school three. The Melvin was 4-4 from the line to seal it.

Make shots, and make plays.

That game was another ridiculously entertaining game and thrilling victory. It tested the upper bounds of an untrackable but real stat: our Fun-to-Stress Ratio.

We’ve moved past analysis time–the opponents are too familiar and the season too old. Now, it’s about execution, and execution becomes easier to attain when you are locked in.

Make shots, and make plays.

With sonofabitchness.

***

While I’ve seen everything I need to see from this team this weekend, we aren’t done. Not by a long shot. Davidson awaits, and they are due a March comeuppance. The Wildcats survived LaSalle yesterday and are playing with confidence. It will be a challenge, but a challenge this team has the grit and skill to overcome. I’ve seen everything I need to see, but I’m not ready to leave Brooklyn.

And win or lose, we will play next week with a group that I love.