VCU will host 16 opponents within the friendly confines of the Stuart C. Siegel Center this season, a number that includes the Rams Nov 4 exhibition opener. Some of those games will come with steep tickets prices, some will come as serious value tickets that you should scoop up early from less educated hoop fans. So with that, it’s important that you should know — especially with today’s unveiling of VCU’s new four-game plan options — exactly which tickets you need to be jumping on, where the exciting games are and where the best values are this season.
Below is a ranking of the 10 best games at the Siegel Center this season.
1 – VCU v DAYTON (Friday, Jan 27)
VCU will host the Flyers of Dayton halfway through conference play in what I believe will be the hottest ticket in the entire A-10 season in any arena. VCU and the Flyers have been two of the conferences marquee programs, having both had recent tournament success that included a VCU Final 4 and Dayton 8 appearance. Both teams will be picked within the top-3 to start the conference season and both have a legit chance at being ranked by this point in the year. ESPN will be in the building and you need to make sure you are as well.
2 – VCU v RICHMOND (Wednesday, Feb 1)
These two are no strangers to each other and with this being the first game in this year’s series, the Rams will want to make sure they start it off with a win. The Spiders had a very disappointing 2015-16 season and with the loss of several key pieces — in particular big man Terry Allen — there’s no telling how dangerous this version of the Spiders will be at that late in the year. Regardless, it’s VCU’s new biggest rivalry (sorry, ODU) and Richmond has plenty of talented pieces to bother the black and gold at home. Consider this one a sellout pretty much already and whatever tickets make themselves available likely won’t come cheep.
3 – VCU v MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (Saturday, Dec 17)
The smart Ram fan will make sure they pick up their ticket to this one at the start of the season before the casual fan realizes just how good this game is going to be. The Blue Raiders head to VCU after hosting the Rams last season in what resulted in a six-point win for Will Wade and Co. MTSU however managed to put together a solid season following that loss, winning Conference USA before upsetting second-seeded Michigan State in the first round of this year’s NCAA tournament. Giddy Potts returns to Kermit Davis’ squad as easily one of the best individual talents VCU will face this upcoming season (Potts ranked No.1 nationally in 3-point percentage this past season, hitting a ridiculous 50.3% of his attempts), so the Rams will be on home upset alert. Buy this ticket as it’s sure to be the best value ticket on VCU’s entire 2016-17 schedule.
4 – VCU v GEORGIA TECH (Wednesday, Dec 7)
I almost feel bad putting this game this high because the reality is next year’s Georgia Tech team will be a shell of the squad that defeated VCU by 13 a season prior. But still, it’s rare that an ACC team dares to brave a road contest at the Siegel Center, so combining that with the revenge factor, I think this game is circled on the calendar of most Ram fans, including mine as well. In terms of quality of play this one is perhaps overrated and you can bet tickets will go for more than that of MTSU when in reality it should probably be the other way around. But again, the fact VCU will get an opportunity to hang another ACC pelt on their wall will have Ram fans foaming at the mouth to see what Mo, JeQuan and friends can do that Wednesday night in December.
5 – VCU v DAVIDSON (Saturday, Feb 11)
The Wildcats have been one of the tougher A-10 teams since joining the conference two seasons ago and easily one of the most explosive. Combine the star power of Bob McKillop, Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge with the fact this will be the second game between the two (meaning either a revenge factor game or for a sweep), and you’ve got another sold out big game between two programs who have seen their stocks soar the past decade.
6 – VCU v GEORGE MASON (Saturday, March 4)
Wait, am I really telling you VCU v George Mason is the 6th best home game on our schedule? Well, sorta. Realistically there are better teams that will come to the Stu but here’s why VCU v Mason is ranked as high as it is: 1) This rivalry has a deeper history than that of a VCU v SLU or VCU v St. Joe’s, but more importantly 2) it’s senior night meaning the last home game of the season and the last home game of the careers of several of your favorite Rams. This game also happens to be an option in the new four-game pack, so make sure to pick that one QUICK.
7 – VCU v PRINCETON (Tuesday, Nov 29)
I’ll get right to the point on this one: VCU will be on upset alert when the Tigers visit the Stu early in this upcoming season. The Ivy League program went 22-7 this past season and returns LITERALLY everyone (well, minus Mike Washington who was the least-used player on the team last year). Princeton earned an NIT invite this past season, falling 86-81 at Virginia Tech in overtime, so expect this group to be NCAA-hungry this year and a tough out for VCU on November 29. Mega-value ticket here if you happen to enjoy really competitive basketball.
8 – VCU v SAINT JOSEPH’S (Tuesday, Feb 14)
The Hawks head to the Stu in the only matchup between these two next season in what will be a bit of a rematch of last season’s A-10 title game. I say “a bit” because this St. Joe’s team shouldn’t look anything like last year’s group thanks to the departures of the talented trio of A-10 Player of the Year DeAndre Bembry, All-Atlantic 10 selection Isaiah Miles and senior Aaron Brown. Still, Phil Martelli always sees to have some new talent waiting to breakout, making this growing rivalry a promising conference game to attend next season.
9 – VCU v LA SALLE (Sunday, Jan 22)
Yes, La Salle. This year’s Explorers should look nothing like last year’s group, this year bringing a promising squad of eligible transfers from the likes of Memphis, Syracuse and South Carolina to join scorer Jordan Price and underrated big Tony Washington. The Explorers were awful last season so it’s hard to get hyped up for this one, but I’m telling you, Dr. John Giannini’s 16-17 Explorers will likely be picked to finish within the top half of the A-10 and could end up as a legit contender this year. Glad we’ll find out at the Stu and not on the road.
10 – VCU v GEORGE WASHINGTON (Wednesday, Jan 11)
Probably seems a little weird that I have VCU versus GW, a matchup that proved to be incredibly competitive last season, below the likes of La Salle, Princeton, etc. But consider GW’s departures and you begin to see why. Yes A-10 Player of the Year candidate Tyler Cavanough returns, but gone are his frontcourt partners-in-crime Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen, as is GW starting point guard Joe McDonald and perhaps most importantly, head coach Mike Lonergan, who was fired this offseason for verbally abusing players on previous teams. That’s just a ton to overcome and because of that I just barely include the Colonial’s in this year’s 10 best Siegel Center tickets.