RICHMOND, Va. — VCU and coach Shaka Smart are heading to the Atlantic 10 this season with high expectations.
The Rams have good reason to be confident.
When last we saw the Rams, they came within a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer of beating Indiana in the third round of the NCAA tournament, and those Hoosiers are the No. 1 team in this year’s preseason Top 25.
The near miss left the Rams with “a lot of confidence, a lot of motivation,” point guard and senior team leader Darius Theus said. “We still have a lot to prove. Some may say we had them on the ropes, but at the end of the day, they got the job done, and we didn’t. We still have a lot to prove.”
In the past two seasons, Smart’s team has gone from the team that shouldn’t have been let into the 2011 NCAA field and became the darlings that reached the Final Four, taking down five power conference schools along the way, to winning another tournament game last season and nearly beating the Hoosiers.
In the step up from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Atlantic 10, they were picked to finish third in the preseason, and will go into strange arenas all season expecting to impose their will.