The VCU Rams went on a magical run last year all the way to the Final Four. However, despite winning their conference tournament this year, they will not make another trip to the center of the college basketball universe.
It’s not like VCU didn’t play great this season. They finished with an impressive 28-6 overall record and a 15-3 conference record in the Colonial Athletic Association. VCU took down a very good Drexel team 59-56 in their conference championship game to grab that automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
However, they caught fire last year during the tournament and pulled off an impossible run, knocking off five higher-ranked opponents on their way to the Final Four, because they were able to surprise teams who weren’t prepared for them.
VCU has a good team entering the tournament. They play a similar style of basketball that led them on that impossible run last year.
However, last year they were an unknown team that surprised their first two opponents with their aggressive press defense, blowing out Georgetown 74-56 in the first round and then Purdue 94-76 in the Round of 32.
When Florida State had a chance to scout VCU for more than one day, they were able to figure them out, which almost led to FSU knocking them off, but the Seminoles lost in overtime 72-71.
However, when they beat the top-seed Kansas 71-61 to advance to the Final Four, the Jayhawks only had a day to get ready for their game.
VCU finally met their demise when the Butler Bulldogs had a week to prepare for them, blowing them out 70-62.
This year, VCU should get past their opening-round opponent. However, unlike last year, they will not shock their second opponent, who will not be under-prepared for them. Teams are more equipped for their press defense and will be able to figure out how to get past it.
When VCU cannot get rolling with the press and if they cannot get hot making three-pointers, they will struggle. Whoever plays VCU in the Round of 32 will hone in on these weaknesses, thus ending their tournament run.
VCU is a great story. However, their time as Cinderella staying at the ball will not last as long as it did last year.