Virginia Commonwealth is now the toast of the NCA tournament. The Rams became the third 11 seed to reach the Final Four after throttling Kansas in the Southwest Regional final on Sunday. More importantly, they’re the third mid-major team to make the Final Four since 2006.
Here’s a rundown of what was said about their win:
VCU, which stands for Vastly Confident Unit, did its job so shockingly well that it dominated the last No. 1 seed left in the tournament. It marked the Rams’ fourth no-doubt-about-it victory in five NCAA games. The only other No. 11 seeds to ever make the Final Four got there the hard way. LSU won four games by an average of 4.3 points in 1986. VCU’s Colonial Athletic Association compadre, George Mason, won four by an average of 6.3 in 2006. The Rams rolled by an average of 12.
-- Pat Forde, ESPN.com
Sunday wasn’t about Kansas. It was about VCU, because VCU is the team calling the shots, the team hitting the shots, the team moving on to the Final Four in Houston -- where anyone who picks against VCU to win the national championship is someone who hasn’t been paying attention.
-- Gregg Doyel, CBSSports.com
Such confidence is the only way to explain the postseason success of a team that finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association and entered the tournament toting losses in five of its previous eight games. ... All the Rams have done since then is defeat teams from the Pac-10 (USC), the Big East (Georgetown), the Big Ten (Purdue), the ACC (Florida State) and the Big 12 (Kansas). As one of the last four teams selected, VCU had to open the tournament in the “First Four” in Dayton, meaning they’ve played an extra game than the other schools that advanced to the Final Four.
-- Jason King, Yahoo! Sports
Coolness. Confidence. Swagger. The appearance of those traits was one of the lead storylines for Kansas here this weekend, but Rodriguez and the Rams showed them in abundance Sunday afternoon as VCU first staggered and then stunned the top-seeded Jayhawks 71-61 to advance to the Final Four. There was nothing flukish about it, either. The better team won on this day, and they did it in style. Their style. Leading into the game, there was a sense of blissful ignorance to the Rams’ bravado. The scrappy underdogs from the Colonial Athletic Association talked openly about how they were tough enough and talented enough to play Kansas their own way, ignoring the perceived folly of trying to run with the deeper, loaded Big 12 team.
-- Andy Glockner, SI.com
Sooner or later, the power-conference hold on the trophy will go the way of the fifth-year senior in college basketball. VC-Who? VCU. Let’s pause briefly to remember the misguided lot who sadly still cling to the belief that the Rams did not deserve a bid.
-- Mike Wise, Washington Post
The rest of college basketball might want to start doing the same because VCU isn’t some cute mid-major team just happy to make the Final Four. Sure, the Rams finished in fourth place in what turned out to be a brutal Colonial Athletic Association and many didn’t think they deserved even to be a play-in team in the NCAA tournament. But five victories later, this fearless band of overachievers with a genius young coach just might be the scariest team in the Final Four.
-- Thayer Evans, FOXSports.com
Their star center is a cast-off from Wake Forest. Hell, head coach Shaka Smart, who played basketball at D-III Kenyon College, didn’t even gather his team to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show because he did not believe they were getting in. Like George Mason in 2006, the Rams have gone from a questionable addition to the tournament to two wins from a national title. But unlike George Mason, VCU has a real, honest-to-god shot at winning this thing.
-- Rob Dauster, Ballin’ Is a Habit
You don’t have to be a college basketball expert to realize how much of an upset this was. But, wow, what an upset. It practically defies description. Three weeks ago, the Rams -- losers of their final four regular-season conference games -- weren’t sure they were going to make the tournament. Now they have a legitimate chance to win the national title. In other words: The Rams are everything we love about college basketball. VCU is the NCAA tournament. And so the magical run rolls on.
-- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN.com
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