Nonetheless, I am a little surprised the March 16 AP Poll had the Rams at No. 25. Last week VCU didn't wasn't even listed among the "others receiving votes." For a team not in one of the power conferences that lost three straight games in late-February/early-March it's quite a feat to leapfrog a bunch of good teams that quickly.
Maybe the NCAA's expert seeding committee didn't show the Rams as much respect as some VCU fans might have wanted -- 7th seed in the West -- but it seems the AP Poll's voters noticed what happened in Brooklyn. What the committee couldn't ignore was VCU's eye-popping ranking in the RPI, due in great part to the Rams strong out-of-conference schedule. Today VCU stands at No. 15 in the RPI at CBS Sports.
Thus the Rams are one spot better than Notre Dame, the impressive team that just won the ACC tournament. The first game of the Big Dance for VCU will tipoff at about 4:40 p.m. on Thursday in Portland, Ore. (TNT). The Rams opponents will be one of the blue blood programs of college basketball -- the 10th-seeded Ohio St. Buckeyes (23-10) out of the Big Ten.
VCU has won five consecutive games, after losing the three previous games. Earlier this season the streaky Rams put together a 12-game run of wins. In the last week of the regular season VCU's head coach Shaka Smart was still tinkering with the starting lineup.
Which VCU Rams team will show up on the hardwood floor to face the Buckeyes in Portland? Will it be the confused Rams of March 5th in Charlotte? Or will it be the bold Rams of March 6th through the 8th at the Barclays Center?
Here's a prediction from ESPN's Joe Lunardi.