When 11th-seeded VCU made its improbable run from the First Four to the Final Four last March, the school responded by selling T-shirts with clever slogans like "There goes my bracket" and "Whatcha talkin' 'bout Bilas?"
The Rams made the NCAA tournament again this year ... and this time they didn't even bother to wait for an opening-round victory before dishing out some bravado.
Readers who opened the Washington Post's special NCAA tournament section on Monday morning were greeted by an ad the VCU public relations department took out that read: "Back to Bust Your Bracket." The 12th-seeded Rams open NCAA tournament play on Thursday in Portland against Wichita State.
VCU certainly showed bracket-busting capabilities again this season despite losing four starters from last year's Final Four team.
[ South Region: Wichita State-VCU brings (mid) major fun to region ]
The Rams aren't as prolific on offense as they were a year ago when they had versatile forward Jamie Skeen and crafty point guard Joey Rodriguez, but they still force turnovers and scored in transition. They overcame a bumpy nonleague portion of the season to win 17 of their final 18 games, beating fellow CAA powers George Mason and Drexel on back-to-back nights to win the conference tournament.
Another Final Four would be an incredible long shot considering VCU's half of the South Region alone includes formidable Wichita State, Big Ten power Indiana and national title favorite Kentucky. Still after what Shaka Smart's team accomplished last year, it's probably not wise to count the Rams out.
(Thanks, D.C. Sports Bog)
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