RICHMOND, Va. – There's a good chance that no Kansas Jayhawk fan is going to turn on ESPN2 on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
If they do, they'd see two teams that have given their basketball program nightmares over the past two seasons when Northern Iowa visits the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center to take on the VCU Rams.
The two programs that took home the ESPY for "Biggest Upset" the last two years will kick off the 10th annual Sears BracketBusters. UNI took down top-seeded Kansas in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament to advance to the program's first-ever Sweet 16. A year later, the Rams took down the Jayhawks in the Southwest Regional Championship to reach the Final Four.
This year, fifth-year Head Coach Ben Jacobson has the Panthers sitting with a 14-9 ledger, led by junior Anthony James, who is averaging 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. UNI has already taken on one CAA opponent this year, defeating Old Dominion 63-46 on Nov. 12 in Norfolk, Va.
VCU has won 15 of its last 17 contests. The Rams rank 14th in the country in scoring defense, holding the opposition to 58.3 points per game. HAVOC has been the name of the game, as the Rams are also fourth in the country in steals (10.0) and opponent turnover percentage (26.9).
It will be the second straight year that the Rams have faced a Missouri Valley Conference foe. VCU nipped Wichita State on the road last year, 68-67.
The two teams have combined for a record of 137-54 and four NCAA Tournament appearances since 2009. This will be the first all-time meeting between the two schools.