VCU played an admirable second half in yesterday’s loss at Saint Louis, but dug themselves too deep a first half hole to climb out of in the 69-65 loss. Vince Williams’ late three cut SLU’s lead to one after the Rams had been down by double-digits most of the game including by 20 in the second half, but a Yuri Collins bucket at the other end increased VCU’s upset degree of difficulty with just seconds remaining, a comeback they fell just short of pulling off.
With that, VCU will play as the No.3 seed in this year’s Atlantic 10 tournament. That brings with it an 8:30PM start time Friday evening in Washington DC at the Capital One Arena. The Rams await the winner of the Richmond and whoever between Rhode Island and Duquesne escapes the Wednesday “pillow fight” contests. VCU is a perfect 4-0 against that group this season, defeating Duquesne and Rhody in the Siegel Center and taking down Richmond twice in their home-and-home series. The Rams narrowly escaped Richmond, 64-62, in the Robins Center.
Rhode Island has been a letdown team to say the least under fourth-year head coach, David Cox, but is a solid 129 on kenpom and owns a win over the A-10 No.1 seed Davidson Wildcats. They competed against several of the top-5 seeds during the regular season, but came up just short in those matchup, ultimately tanking the northern Rams’ win total. Cox’s last tournament matchup against the Rams saw Rhody down the top-seeded black and gold with the help of an early-game Marcus Evans injury.
VCU has played Richmond in three A-10 tournaments since joining the conference, none of which were under the leadership of Mike Rhoades. The Rams booked the Spiders from the field in 2014, 2015 and 2017, the later of the two being decided by three points in regulation and then a 10-point overtime win thanks to a late game-tying JeQuan Lewis three.
The fun bit of this seeding drop comes via that 8:30PM start time for VCU, the Rams’ first Friday evening matchup since 2017 when VCU defeated George Mason, 71-60, in Pittsburgh, PA during Will Wade’s time as head coach. VCU has been sucked into early starts more often than not as of late. Next week’s Friday night matchup could help the black and gold faithful show up in larger numbers than had they earned the top seed.
VCU Alumni is hosting a pre-game event for Rams that do make the trip. That begins at 6PM at Penn Social, 801 E NW, Washington DC 20004. There is a $15 cover charge to get in that includes a buffet, open bar and VCU swag.
For more info on VCU events at next week’s tournament in DC, visit go.vcu.edu/alumnidc