Fans can be pleased with Thursday’s official release of the A-10 men’s basketball schedule. As the conference looks at a record number of nationally televised games, 71 total including conference, non-conference and tournament games, the VCU Rams look at record numbers as well.
Looking back at the development of the VCU basketball program, fans can’t help but gloat as they realize that a decade ago the Ram’s didn’t get any television coverage at all. As the team entered the NCAA tournament for the first time in 1980 under Coach J.D. Barnett, a new era began. From there, VCU won 4 Sun Belt and 5 CAA season championships. As for the NCAA tournament, they have appeared 11 times after 1980 and are best known for their 5 famous “upsets” on the rise to the Final Four in 2011 (especially the win against Kansas which earned them an ESPY).
With the release of their 2013-2014 schedule, VCU sets a new record of coverage with 21 guaranteed nationally televised games in their season. The Rams have the most televised games out of all the A-10 teams and if they make it to the conference tournament, this number will be even higher. With the Atlantic Ten getting coverage from three of the biggest sports networks in the country, ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBCSN, VCU’s fans all over the country will be able to support their team and with this amount of publicity the fan base can only grow.
What this could mean
It’s not secret in the media these days that the Big East may grow from 10 teams to 12 within the next few years. Although VCU will be entering its second season with the Atlantic 10, they finished second in the conference behind St. Louis and proved to be a strong candidate for the Big East.
Xavier’s Athletic Director named VCU, St. Louis, Dayton and Richmond Thursday when referring to the Big East’s expansion as the possible teams in the running to make the switch. VCU certainly needs to go undefeated in conference this season, or close to it, if they want to be taken seriously for entrance into the Big East.
VCU’s roster is looking stacked as of right now. Returning powerhouses Juvonte Reddic and Treveon Graham, along with the rest of the team, create a dangerous matchup. Graham was a key component in turnovers last season and may arguably be one of the A-10’s best players this season.
Coach Shaka Smart’s defensive pressure and quick plays can be executed well with the men he has. Smart’s game strategies have proven to work with tiring out teams as the game plays out which opens windows for VCU to gain a significant lead against their opponent. Quickness tends to bring out weaknesses.
Additionally, George Mason has recently been added to the A-10 and VCU opens their season, televised, on CBS Sports Network, January 9th.