The No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth Rams are back at it this March, but they will have to get through the No. 4 Indiana Hoosiers in the third round to stay alive in the South Region of the 2012 NCAA tournament.
The Rams took down the No. 5 Wichita State Shockers in the second round, as they came away with a nail-biting 62-59 victory.
The Hoosiers, on the other hand, had an easier time in handling No. 13 New Mexico State, as they downed the Aggies, 79-66.
The Rams are still going to be tough for the Hoosiers, and we all learned that last year.
Where: The Rose Garden, Portland, OR
When: Saturday, March 17 at 7:10 p.m. EST
Live Streaming: CBS Sports
Spread: -6 Hoosiers (per 5Dimes.com)
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
Heath Houston, F—The Rams forward has been out since 1/24/12, and will continue to be absent from today's action.
Verdell Jones III, G—The Hoosier guard will be absent from the tourney after tearing his ACL in the Big Ten tourney.
What's At Stake?
The winner of this game will move on into the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. With the way the bracket looks, the winner will either get the No. 1 seed Kentucky Wildcats or, by a long shot, No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones.
If the Hoosiers and Wildcats do both indeed make it to the next round, it would be a rematch between the two teams from an earlier game this regular season in which the Hoosiers handed the Wildcats their only loss of the regular season.
What They're Saying
According to the Indy Star's Bob Kravitz, the Rams are going to be quite the challenge for the Hoosiers.
"The Hoosiers haven't seen anybody or anything that comes close to the Rams, who remind you of Nolan Richardson's old '40 Minutes of Hell' Arkansas teams. They are totally committed and connected defensively, and will try to speed up the Hoosiers by pressing and trapping all game."
Most Important Player to Watch: Bradford Burgess
The Rams are make or break with their senior guard-forward Burgess.
In the team's victory over the Shockers, Burgess had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 38 minutes of play. So what was wrong?
He went 6-for-16 from the field.
That isn't going to fly against the Hoosiers. Burgess, who has just been averaging around 13 PPG this season, will need to continue to keep scoring high, but he will need to find some more consistency in his shot selection to keep the Rams alive going forward.
Key Matchup: Juvonte Reddic vs Cody Zeller
Rams' sophomore forward Reddic didn't have an easy time against the Shockers, as he went just 2-for-5 for only four points and five rounds. He only had worse numbers against Drexel—the game before this tournament.
Going up against Hoosiers forward Zeller will not be any easier for Reddic, and he may be in some serious trouble putting up the points.
On the other hand, Zeller is coming off of a 14 point game against the Aggies, but he may find some more luck with the Rams small front-court.
Zeller is young, but he can certainly flourish in this situation.
Prediction: Hoosiers 77, Rams 74
This one won't go without excitement, but in the end the Rams won't be able to match their magical run from just a year ago.
While most would be writing the exact same thing a year ago, there is always a chance that the Rams could shock people. The thing is, they just don't look like the same team from last year.
This Hoosiers team is tough, but they are also young. The one thing that may tip into the Rams' favor is that they do have experience here, and they are going to have to hope that could possibly carry them to yet another upset.
It will certainly be an exciting game, and one that can't go without watching.