The Dagger - NCAAB

This week, The Dagger takes a deeper look at each of the four universities participating in the 2011 Final Four. First up, VCU.

Location: Richmond, Va.

Enrollment: 21,835 (56.4 percent female)

Team Mascot: Rams

How they got to Houston: d. USC (59-46), d. Georgetown (74-56), d. Purdue (94-76), d. Florida State (72-71), d. Kansas (71-61)

Greatest basketball moment: This. While making the Final Four is the unquestionable highlight of VCU's history, the school isn't without its NCAA tournament memories. In 1985, the first year of the 64-team field, the Rams entered March as a No. 2 seed. They didn't make it out of the first weekend, though, thanks to an upset loss at the hands of Alabama. The first-round win would be VCU's last until Eric Maynor hit a 15-footer to upset Duke in 2007.

Reason to root for them: This sign was hung during a rally sending the team off to San Antonio for the Southwest Regional. It refers to Dick Vitale's badmouthing of VCU's at-large bid.


Reason to root against them: Do we really want a national champion that has losses to Northeastern, Drexel, James Madison, Georgia State, South Florida and, ugh, Tennessee on its résumé? 

How the school dealt with Final Four appearance on its main website page: Top-billing, which is much more than the other three schools.

Most interesting sounding class on the school's 2010-2011 course register: Backpacking 201. "Emphasis will be given to the skills and knowledge necessary for safe, low-impact, short-to-moderate-duration travel through back country areas." With the offers sure to roll in after next week, Shaka Smart may be packing from VCU very soon.

Famous alumni: Hunter "Patch" Adams (famous clown-nose wearing doctor), Debbie Matenopoulos (former co-host of "The View"), Gwar (band)

Smart quote to make others think you've been following VCU all along: "If you want to get down to it, VCU's run to the Final Four really began at [the school's Nike-sponsored coaching conference] Villa 7 when [VCU athletic director] Norwood Teague first met Shaka Smart."

What not to say at your Final Four party: "VCU? Isn't that the Law & Order with Ice-T?"

What Clark Kellogg will probably say about VCU: "The team's escapability and effort will help in executing."

Chances of winning it all: Better than you think. The Rams won five games to get to Houston, including a convincing victory over tournament favorite Kansas. Are you going to doubt them?

Jim Nantz's most likely scripted line if they do: "They Shaka'd the world!"

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