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5 Tournament Teams Highlight VCU’s Non-Conference Slate

5 Tournament Teams Highlight VCU’s Non-Conference Slate

It seems like we have been waiting awhile for this, but VCU Athletics have finally released the non-conference schedule for the 50th season of VCU basketball. VCU will face at least five teams that made the NCAA tournament last season. The season will start on Friday, November 10 at the Siegel Center when the Rams will face the Grambling State Tigers in what likely will be the school’s 100th consecutive sellout. The schedule is highlighted by VCU’s second appearance in the Maui Invitational where they will face the Marquette Golden Eagles in the first round on Monday, Nov. 20. In the later rounds, they could face two of the following teams: Wichita State, LSU, California, Notre Dame, Michigan or host Chaminade.

The Rams will also begin a home-and-home series with the Virginia Cavaliers which a showdown at the Siegel Center on November 17.  The two teams split their previous home-and-home series in 2014 and 2015. Virginia has made four straight appearances in the NCAA tournament.

December 5 will mark the return of Shaka Smart to the Siegel Center as the Texas Longhorns will face the Rams. Smart coached the Rams from 2009-2015. During that time, the Rams made the NCAA tournament six times, won two conference championships and led the Rams to their only Final Four appearance in 2011.

For the second time in three years, the Ospreys of North Florida will face the Rams at the Siegel Center on November 13. VCU will then take on UVA on November 17 before departing for Maui where they will play three games in three days. After the Thanksgiving holiday, the Rams will return to RVA for a meeting with the Appalachian State Mountaineers to round out the month of November.

The Rams will start the month of December with a rivalry game with the Old Dominion Monarchs on Dec. 2 at the Siegel Center before rounding out their three-game homestand with Texas on December 5. VCU will travel to Newark, New Jersey to face the Seton Hall Pirates at the Prudential Center on the 9th in the 2017 Never Forget Tribute Classic. Seton Hall has made the NCAA Tournamant in consecutive seasons. VCU will finish its non-conference schedule with another three-game homestand taking on the champions of the Patriot League, Bucknell on Dec. 16, Big South Champion Winthrop Dec. 19 and VMI Dec. 22.

The 2017 season will feature a lot of new faces for the VCU basketball team. Mike Rhoades returns to the VCU program as the head coach of the black and gold squad. Rhoades was an assistant head coach for the Rams under Shaka Smart from 2009-2014. He accepted a head coaching job for the Rice Owls in Houston in 2014. In his time at Rice, Rhoades went 47-52 record which included a 23-12 record in his final season. Eight new players will take the court for the Rams in 2017 alongside the dynamic duo of Johnny Williams and Justin Tillman. The Rams will be looking to make it back to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season.

The Rams will play in an exhibition game on November 3 against an opponent to be named later. The Black and Gold scrimmage will on October 14.

A 2016 graduate of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture and former Programming and Sports Director of WVCW, Darnell has been covering VCU programs for several years. During his time as a Ram he and co-host Derek Marion were the recipients of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System's award for best basketball play-by-play for their coverage of VCU men’s basketball. As an alumnus, Darnell remains passionate about the VCU Rams. His loud and animated personality shines through as a commentator on Scrambled. In the new series, On the Court, he showcases his journalistic skills through one on one interviews.


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