VCU Basketball: Confident Rams Will Once Again Be Dangerous in NCAA Tournament

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Head coach Shaka Smart of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams reacts from the sidelines against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After defeating a quality Drexel team in the final of the CAA tournament Monday night, the VCU Rams are once again a confident team that no one will want to play during the NCAA Tournament.

The Rams aren't as talented as they were last year, but they have the experience, leadership, confidence and strong defensive play that will make them very dangerous throughout March Madness.

After a surprise run to the Final Four last season, VCU knows it can beat anyone if they play their game.

Not fearing any school, whether it's a conference rival like Drexel or a national power like Kansas (who VCU beat in the Elite Eight last year), really helps the Rams stay loose going into high-pressure tournament games.

After going through a lot of ups and downs this season, Rams head coach Shaka Smart is proud of the way his players have improved this season.


A lot of people doubted us, didn’t think we’d be a championship-caliber team. In November, we weren’t. We weren’t good enough to do what we did tonight. But that’s why we play and coach the way we do. We emphasized improvement. I always thought we were talented enough as a group and that if we developed the confidence and swagger and toughness, we’d be a championship-caliber team. To their credit, they did that.

Defensively, the Rams are very strong and their commitment to defending is something that will benefit them against the most talented teams they play in March Madness.

VCU had 10 steals and six blocks against Drexel on Monday night, and their ability to shut down the paint and defend the perimeter consistently well makes the Rams an extremely frustrating team to play against.

Guard Darius Theus had five steals of his own and is capable of containing the best point guards in the country with his spectacular one-on-one defense.

With the confidence from last year still with them, the Rams will be a tough team to defeat in the NCAA Tournament with their solid defense and tremendous team chemistry.

Smart has his players believing they can beat anyone and his fantastic coaching will lead them to another deep tournament run.