VCU entered the season holding lofty expectations and ranked No. 10 coming into Thursday night, but the Florida State Seminoles proved too much for the Rams in a 85-67 drubbing in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The showdown was tight in the opening stretches, with the teams trading leads throughout the early goings. Then, the 'Noles went on a run about midway through the first half and pushed their lead to as many as 16 points late in the opening period.
However, a late Rams run made it a 48-36 game at the end of the half.
Florida State came out after halftime and took a death grip on the game. It couldn't end soon enough for VCU, who found itself down by 30 points late.
Ian Miller proved to be huge for the 'Noles, coming off the bench to lead all scorers with 22 points. Behind him was the starting backcourt duo of Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon, who combined for 32 points.
VCU held the 10th spot in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and looked to be one of the favorites in the star-studded Puerto Rico field. Florida State, on the other hand, only received four votes in the poll. (For perspective, No. 25 Marquette had 144 votes.)
ESPN's Dick Vitale took to Twitter to express his shock:
Noles putting the hurt on a good V U team - I am surprised by how easy Florida St is winning. Will VCU make a run .— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) November 22, 2013
Hot shooting has spurred the Seminoles early in the season, as they entered Thursday ranked 12th in the NCAA in field-goal percentage at .537 through their opening three games.
It was more of the same on Thursday, shooting .537 as a team to VCU's .293.
The Rams had already faced a big name this season, disposing of Virginia on the road in a close, 59-56 affair on Nov. 12. But another ACC foe in Puerto Rico proved to be too big of a test.
ESPN's Jay Bilas wasn't surprised by the upset, but the margin of victory:
Not surprised at a Florida State win. Shocked by the margin, and how poorly VCU played. Rams are really good. How good, then, is FSU?! Wow.— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) November 22, 2013
Shaka Smart's squad dominated talk entering the season as the March Madness specialists viewed another deep run, and Thursday's loss certainly won't impact that. But it's not a favorable outcome this early in the season for a team that was supposed to boast its experience and talent all year.
Meanwhile, don't expect Florida State to be overlooked by voters from here on out. The Seminoles just added one impressive win to their resume and are good for an upset or two against the highly touted ACC teams they'll face later in the season.