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NCAA Basketball Atlantic 10 BasketballMarch MadnessVCU Rams

Why VCU Rams Can Make Another Magical NCAA Tournament Run

Shaka Smart

Geoff Burke- USA TODAY Sports

#Havoc. The Virginia Commonwealth Rams have captivated the nation in their first year in the Atlantic 10 conference with an incredible brand of tenacious, swarming defense. Head coach Shaka Smart is a college basketball rock star, the Rams are ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press’ weekly poll and VCU has earned a 5-seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

All of the above has accumulated into one burning question: Can VCU make another magical run in the NCAA Tourney?

The Rams stormed onto college basketball’s center stage when, as an 11-seed who was slotted in a play-in game, Smart and company put together a triumphant run to the Final Four of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Since Smart took over the reigns of the VCU program in 2009, the Rams are an astounding 7-3 in The Big Dance. They’ve been successful with an aggressive defensive game plan for the past three years and defense always travels.

Thus, when VCU steps onto the court in Auburn Hills, they’re going to bring it on every possession defensively and few teams will be ready to face that kind of speed and consistent pressure.

If the Rams are able to get out and frustrate Michigan’s star guards, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., the Wolverines might find their offense go stagnant. With that in mind, it’s not totally unrealistic for VCU to make the Sweet 16 this year and have an interesting NCAA Tournament rematch with Kansas, who they took out in the Elite 8 in 2011.

Jake Fischer is the CAA Columnist for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. He also hosts the CAA Relay Podcast. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @JakeLFischer.