The ultimate darlings of the 2011 tournament thus far, Virginia Commonwealth was a team that many didn't think deserved to be included in the field of 68.
After winning their first three tournament games by a combined 49 points, it's not a stretch to say that the Rams have been perhaps the hottest team in the field who will no doubt be dangerous as the Sweet 16 kicks off later this week.
Depth: When you like to run as much as VCU does, you better have plenty of depth to give your guys a breather.
It's not uncommon for the Rams to give eight players 10-plus minutes per game, and everybody who sees floor time for VCU contributes to their uptempo style of play.
Besides Jamie Skeen, VCU is a guard oriented team and they have plenty of back court depth, which includes five legitimate three-point shooters who can make opposing teams pay.
When it comes to their bigs, VCU has an extremely talented player in Skeen.
Although they don't feature another serious threat in the post, they have no shortage of big bodies like Juvonte Reddic and D.J. Haley who are capable of giving them some quality minutes.
Everyone on the VCU team helps out on the boards, and although this team generally plays a smaller lineup, it usually works more to their advantage as it enables them to fly up and down the court and play their fast paced brand of basketball.
Cold-Blooded Shot Maker: As I mentioned above, pretty much everyone on this VCU team looks for their long distance shot and can hit it at a good rate.
VCU has plenty of guys who could potentially sink that game deciding bucket, but Bradford Burgess has really blossomed into a dangerous offensive player.
His 40 percent three-point shooting leads the team, and thanks to his 6'6'' size he's able to get his shot off over smaller players.
Burgess contributes in a lot of different ways to this VCU team, but he's flashed the ability to be an explosive shot maker during his junior season and he has the tools to be a late game hero for the Rams.
Coaching/Intangibles: Shaka Smart is quickly becoming one of the most sought after young coaches in college basketball and many major programs will come calling once VCU is eliminated from the tournament.
Smart has utilized the personnel on this VCU team very well after losing stars like Eric Maynor and Larry Sanders to the NBA in the past few seasons.
He has opted to play a team brand of basketball which is paying off in the tournament.
Smart and his players have thrived off the negative comments that many expressed after VCU was included in the field of 68, and the extra motivation gained from all that negativity is working wonders for them.
Fresh off dismantling Purdue, VCU might just be the hottest team in the tournament, and after losing 11 games during the regular season, it's clear that they're peaking at the right time.
Having an experienced point guard like Joey Rodriguez is really invaluable at this time of year because we've already seen some bonehead plays cost teams close games in the tournament.
A senior leader like Rodriguez directing VCU's offense is a huge advantage.
Matchups: VCU is going to push the ball, look to score in transition, and try to turn you over with their press.
All of these tactics have baffled their opponents in the tournament thus far, but they will be facing off against a Florida State team in the Sweet 16 that plays a much different brand of basketball.
These contrasting styles will definitely make for an interesting game, and it might come down to how well the Seminoles can handle the press and if they're able to stop VCU from getting out in transition.
If VCU can get past Florida State's suffocating defense, they'll move on to face the winner of Kansas vs. Richmond.
Both will be tough tests for the Rams, but they could have an especially difficult time with Kansas, whose depth and veteran leadership won't be easily worn down or flustered by VCU's frenetic pace.
Next Level Talent: Unlike their teams in the past few seasons, VCU doesn't have that sure-fire NBA talent on their roster, but you have to like both Joey Rodriguez and Jamie Skeen's skill sets.
Skeen's 6'9'' frame and versatile offensive game are definitely coveted at the next level and although he's not really on anyone's draft board, he can carry this team.
Rodriguez has great quickness, play making ability, and vision—all of which make him a great leader on the court who is also capable of knocking down a few shots.
Because of his size and versatile game, Burgess might emerge as a pro prospect next season, and what he's been able to do for VCU on the court this season is certainly impressive.