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
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.
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!"