Elite 804! Burgess wins it on final play

<a href="http://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/8.jpg"><img src="http://www.vcuramnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/8.jpg" alt="" title="8" width="400" height="450" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-5307" /></a>Perhaps all that's been missing from VCU's historic run was an overtime thriller.

They got that tonight, as "Big Shot" Bradford Burgess' game winning shot off the inbound -- and perhaps equally as important, freshman Rob Brandenberg's block on Florida State's final shot attempt -- gave the Rams the 71-70 stunner, and punched VCU's ticket to their first ever Elite 8 appearance.

Burgess was huge all night for the Rams, but the final 2 of his 26 on the evening were no doubt the best two points of the junior forward's basketball career.

The Seminoles had a chance to win it with a shot of their own, but freshman Rob Brandenberg tracked down an open FSU player to block the final shot of the ACC squad's season.

The Rams looked as if they might pull away from the 'Noles, jumping out to a 9-point lead, but Florida State steadily chipped away at the black-and-gold's lead, and used a stifling defense to send the game into overtime.

VCU struggled to hit free throws down the stretch, but got two crucial freebies from Brandon Rozzell with three minutes to remaining.

Florida State answered with two baskets from point blank range, including a Chris Singleton dunk with 30 seconds to play.

The Rams then channeled their inner Maynor, and Coach Shaka Smart, who's stock is perhaps higher than any coach's in the country, drew up the play of his life to get VCU the easy bucket off the inbound.

Brandon Rozzell kept the Rams on top early, and saw his hot tournament streak continue by scoring 16 off the bench for VCU.

Joey Rodriguez struggled to score against a lengthy FSU team who has been the most efficient defensive squad in the country. But the senior point guard found Rams all over the court, dropping 10 assists on the night and turning the ball over only three times.

Jamie Skeen rounded out VCU's list of double digit scorers with 11 points in the win.

Skeen was limited with foul trouble, but grabbed a 7 rebounds for the Rams in a game where VCU was outrebounded by 20.

Darius Theus was also big in the first half, scoring 6 of his 8 points on the night, his highest output since January 3rd.

The win was the Rams 27th of the season, tying the most ever by any previous VCU team.

VCU will take on Kansas in the following round, the only remaining No.1 seed in this year's tournament.

Post game celebration video via Mike Voyack from VCU Athletics, classic.

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Licensed Virginia Realtor and part-time basketball writer. Co-founder of VCURamNation.com and A10Talk.com.
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Mat Shelton-Eide
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