By Mike Litos (@VCULitos)


I couldn't get to the Siegel Center quickly enough, that November afternoon. Even for the surprise warmth of a Richmond November it was a warm day. It could've been snowing for all I cared.

You see, getting to the Siegel Center early was--and still is--an imperative. The run up to a VCU basketball game is the ideal appetizer to the festive meal served at tip off. Soaking in the energy and atmosphere of college basketball is a significant part of the experience. Watching fans file in and players warm-up, chatting hoops and listening to the band, it’s like the smell of a steak on the grill.

But this was different. Bigger, I thought.

We were coming off our first NCAA tournament appearance in eight years, a tantalizing 79-78 loss to Wake Forest. If we won that November day in 2005 we got another shot at Wake. We had Mike Doles, and Nick George and that freshman BA Walker back. This was Game Number One and we all had high hopes.

Yes, this was a special kind of run up. It was one of those days where if Jeff Capel would've allowed it, I'd have been there at 7am with bagels and swept the Siegel Center floor.

I also remember being very disappointed that day. Oh we won the game, an overtime thriller. The detail is a little hazy but I remember Walker having a huge day, and wondering how American—freaking American—could possibly hang with us.

But the clear memory is sharing the experience with a less-than-half-full, voltage-impaired Siegel Center.

So when the press release hit my inbox last week, the one announcing that we were starting a wait list for season tickets, that American game immediately came to mind. We’re a long way from that day.

The numbers don't lie. And they are impressive. Since the 2011 Final Four run:

·         - 110% season ticket increase

·        Website traffic up 152%

·        -  Twitter followers up 423%

·        -  Facebook "likes" up 312%

·        -  Traffic and number of visitors at vcuramnation.com has doubledVideo has no source Url