Monday, March 18, 2013

The Mission: Win and Advance

Opinions are like, er, noses. Most people have one. So as we look ahead to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, we can see the regular season, the conference tournaments and lots of opinions in the rear-view mirror.

The polls came out today. The Associated Press dropped VCU from its list of the elite 25. After the weekend’s action, the Rams were were seen by its voters as what amounts to No. 26. The Coaches Poll has VCU as No. 23. The Rams' RPI is currently at No. 24, according to CBS Sports. ESPN’s BPI system has VCU at No. 21. And, so forth…

More importantly, the NCAA selection committee put VCU in its South bracket as a No. 5 seed. Which basically says it viewed the Rams as one of the best 20 teams in the field.

All those opinions say VCU (26-8) had a pretty good season. From here on opinions won’t matter. In the Big Dance, it’s a win-and-advance or a lose-and-go-home deal. On Thursday at 9:45 p.m. the Rams will face their first opponent in the tournament -- the Akron Zips (26-6)

VCU has beaten Akron in the recent past, but they didn't face one another this season. Doesn’t matter. Akron’s head coach, Keith Dambrot, and Shaka Smart are good friends. Doesn’t matter. VCU plays in what is considered to be a better conference. That's an opinion, so it doesn’t matter now.

Moreover, this tournament usually makes a mockery of the concept of the power conference teams having a big advantage. We’re looking at March Madness. All that matters is for the Rams to prepare and execute … and keep on dancing.

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