April 5, 2011

RAMS FINISH THE SEASON RANKED SIXTH IN USA TODAY/ESPN TOP 25 POLL

RICHMOND, Va. – It's a well-known fact that Head Coach Shaka Smart of the VCU men's basketball program is a history buff.

Then it really comes as no surprise as Smart and his Rams continue to rewrite the history books when it comes to VCU basketball. For the first time ever, the Black & Gold earned a top-10 ranking, finishing sixth in the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll of the 2010-11 season.

"I'm extremely proud of this group of guys and what they've accomplished over the past month," Smart said. "They've forever changed not only this basketball program, but this university as a whole. It speaks volumes to the type of players that we are privileged enough to have as part of our family."

It's the highest-ever ranking by any CAA school and the first top-10 appearance since George Mason in 2006, when they finished eighth. The last time a Rams team appeared in the top-25 was in 1984-85, when they finished 11th in the country according to the AP poll.

VCU wrapped up the 2010-11 campaign with an overall mark of 28-12, which ties the school record for victories in a season, previously set by the 2006-07 squad.

The Rams made their mark when it counted the most, posting a 7-2 record in the month of March, including the program's first-ever Final Four appearance.

En route to the history making performance, VCU toppled BCS powers like USC (Pac-10), Georgetown (Big East), Purdue (Big Ten), Florida State (ACC) and Kansas (Big 12).

"First and foremost, as a coaching staff, we want to continue making strides in the development process of our student-athletes," Smart said. "With that process comes continued success on the court."

Over the course of Smart's two years at VCU, the Rams have posted a 55-21 record, which is the highest win total over any two-year span in school history.

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