VCU G JeQuan Lewis fouls on 3-pointer, sends game to overtime (Video)

VCU JeQuan Lewis

VCU blew a 10-point lead with 3:38 to go against Stephen F. Austin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday and ended up going to overtime after a bad foul in a game they eventually lost.

The Rams were up 67-63 with 10.5 seconds left and appeared to have the game all locked up, but Jordan Burgess missed two free throws to keep it a 4-point game. The Lumberjacks then ran in transition and gave the ball to Desmond Haymon, who made a 3-pointer while being fouled.

Haymon certainly flopped somewhat on the play, but JeQuan Lewis still fouled him while being super aggressive on the close-out.

The terrible ending for VCU cost them as they lost 77-75 in OT. Lewis also missed a wide open 3-pointer on VCU’s last shot of the game in overtime.

VCU band used Miley Cyrus cat from AMAs to distract George Mason

VCU George Mason Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus apparently is pretty useful in a sports setting.

Remember in November when a Belmont fan sang “Wrecking Ball” when North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo was at the free throw line and caused him to brick? Well Virginia Commonwealth’s band took that a step further.

The VCU band broke out a cutout/poster of the cat that was part of Miley’s act at the AMAs in November for the team’s game against George Mason on Thursday. In case you missed it, when Miley performed “Wrecking Ball” at the American Music Awards, there was a cat that sang with her:

That cat should look familiar, because it’s the exact same one the band used. They also reportedly kept making “meow” sounds when the Patriots were at the line and played “Wrecking Ball.” You can see a video below:

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Shaka Smart had his players sign bracket showing VCU in Sweet 16 (Picture)

VCU was one of the stunning stories of last year’s NCAA Tournament when they reached the Final Four as a No. 11 seed. This year they’re a No. 12 seed, and a lot of people were calling their opponent — No. 5 seed Wichita State — “the VCU” of the tournament. That story didn’t last long as VCU beat Wichita St. 62-59 in the first round of the tournament Thursday.

Smart revealed after his team’s win that he used “the VCU” line as part of his speech to his squad to remind them nobody else was VCU. He also had all his players sign a bracket that showed VCU advancing to the Sweet 16 to help them visualize their preseason goal.

“When they signed, they’re saying, ‘I’m all in. I’m going to do everything it takes to accomplish this goal,'” Smart explained, per Jeff Eisenberg.

Some people may consider the tactic phony or lame, but I’m big on goal visualization. You have to see yourself doing something in order for it to happen, and that’s exactly what Smart is preaching. We’re seeing once again why Smart is one of the top coaches in the game, and why VCU’s prediction that they’re back to bust our brackets again may prove to be correct.

VCU will face No. 4 seed Indiana on Saturday.

Picture via Jeff Eisenberg

VCU newspaper ad says they’re ‘back to bust your bracket’ (Picture)

VCU took out an ad in Monday’s NCAA Tournament special section of the Washington Post where they said they were “back to bust your bracket.” The Rams of course reached the Final Four last year as a No. 11 seed. This year they’re a No. 12 seed and scheduled to face five-seed Wichita State in a very winnable game. After that, it’s the winner of the Indiana-New Mexico State game. We’ll see if they’re able to make good on their promise. If they do, they would just be repeating what Butler has done the past two seasons.

Chest bump to DC Sports Bog via The Dagger

Someone Bet $10 on VCU to Win it All, Stands to Make $50,000

The run VCU has been able to make to the Final Four in Houston has become — as expected — a complete sideshow.  The university recently shelled out $2,000 to let Dick Vitale know he was wrong and students and fans alike have been partying in the streets since the Sweet 16.  Only two out of 5.9 million ESPN brackets picked the final four correctly, and VCU is a huge reason why.  Whether you believe the Rams deserve to be playing for a championship or not, their run in the 2011 NCAA Tournament has been one of the most remarkable in history.

According to the USA Today, via Deadspin, one brave soul strolled into the Las Vegas Hilton earlier this season and decided to risk $10 of his or her hard-earned money on a whim.  That whim was that the VCU Rams would win the National Championship in 2011.  The odds? 5,000 to 1.  Therefore if VCU cuts down the nets next week in Houston, that person stands to win $50,000.

Other sportsbooks in Vegas said they took “significant” futures action on VCU at 175-1 and Butler at 150-1 before the tournament began.  There are still two games remaining before any serious cash would need to be shelled out, but book managers are admittedly nervous about the potential of having to pay some huge winners.

Granted, there were probably a ton of lost bets with people betting on the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to win specific games and the National Championship, but I’m sure the Vegas sportsbooks would much rather pay those who bet on UConn and Kentucky to win it all than they would those who went out on a limb for VCU and Butler.

Shaka Smart Named After Zulu Chieftain

VCU has become the darling of the NCAA Tournament this year, developing into this year’s Butler (which incidentally could also be said about this year’s Butler). Their head coach is Shaka Smart who has emerged as a leading candidate for several bigger jobs after helping his team make its stunning run.

VCU’s Final Four run has led to several headlines involving play-on-words for Smart’s last name. Though his surname seems befitting for the genius it’s taken to lead such an improbable ride, it’s his first name that is most notable to me.

Yahoo! Sports’ The Dagger explains how Shaka got his first name. Jeff Eisenberg writes “Smart’s father, a native of Trinidad, named him after the influential Zulu chieftain Shaka, who united much of Southern Africa under his leadership in the early 1800s.”

Could Smart have had a more appropriate first name? The man who’s led VCU to the Final Four named after a man who united Southern Africa? It’s unique, and it fits. I love it.

Thanks to Sports by Brooks Live for passing it along.

Dickie V ‘Eat Crow Baby’ Banner Helps VCU Pile it On

There have been few times in sports history where a team has made an analyst insert their foot in their mouth quite like VCU has done with Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas.  Both ESPN analysts completely ripped the selection committee for even putting the Rams in the field of 68.  While both were probably right and it can be easily argued that VCU had no right being in the tournament, that should not take away from what they have been able to do over the past couple weeks.

Now that they have defied all odds and reached the Final Four, VCU decided it would treat itself to a $2,000 banner to hang on its campus.  Not just any banner, however.  Check out the Dickie V Eat Crow Baby banner, courtesy of SI Hot Clicks:

Like it or not, VCU has a legitimate chance to reach the National Championship game despite losing to teams like Georgia State and Northeastern in the regular season.  Their fans have been partying in the streets, the school has shelled out money for banners to rag on analysts, and the Rams faithful appear to be thoroughly enjoying the ride.