GAMEDAY CENTRAL: VCU vs. AKRON (NCAA Tournament Round of 64)

Who: VCU Rams (26-8) vs. Akron (26-6)
When: Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013 - 9:45 p.m.
Where: Auburn Hills, Mich. | Directions | Tickets
Arena: The Palace of Auburn Hills (24,276)
Radio: Ram Radio (107.3) (Play-By-Play: Robby Robinson; Color Analyst: Mike Litos)
(Play-By-Play: Verne Lundquist; Color Analyst: Bill Raftery; Sideline: Rachel Nichols)
Live Stats: GameTracker
Media Guides:
VCU | Akron
Game Notes: VCU | Akron
Social Media:

VCU Athletics Twitter | VCU Athletics Scores Twitter | VCU Athletics Facebook
  | @VCUHorns

The Storylines

> VCU is making its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth in the past seven years. Its the third straight trip to the "Big Dance" under Coach Smart and his staff, marking just the second time in program history that the Rams made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances (1983-85).

> The Black & Gold will be making its ninth postseason tournament in the past 10 seasons (six NCAA Tournaments, two NITs, one CBI)

> Coach Smart and his staff have had quite a bit of success in postseason tournaments (conference and postseason combined). Since arriving at VCU in 2009, the Rams are 20-5 in postseason tournaments (9-3 in conference tournaments, 6-2 in NCAA tournament, 5-0 in CBI).

> The number five seed is tied for the second highest in program history. The highest came in 1985 when VCU was the #2 seed in the West Region. The Rams have been a #5 seed on two other occasions (1981, 1983).

> Prior to Coach Smart's arrival in 2009, VCU had won 26 or more games just twice in school history. The Rams have reached 26 or more victories in each season since.

> The Black & Gold enters the NCAA Tournament as one of just three programs in the country to post 24 or more wins in each of the past seven seasons. Kansas and Memphis are the other two.

>Entering the NCAA Tournament, VCU is one of just six programs in the country to post 110 or more wins since 2009. Joining the Rams on that list is Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Ohio State and Syracuse.

> With eight 90-plus point performances on the year, VCU enters the NCAA  Tournament as the 13th-highest scoring offense in the country with 77.3 points per game. It's the most 90-plus games in a season since 1987-88, when VCU also tallied eight 90-plus outings. The Rams are 8-0 when scoring 90 or more this year.

> VCU's HAVOC style of defense has helped the Rams claim the top spot in the country in total steals (402), steals per game (11.8) and turnovers forced per game (19.9). VCU forces a turnover on 28.7% of its defensive possessions, which is also the top mark in the country.

> It seems like VCU and Akron can't avoid each other. The Rams and Zips drew each other for ESPN's BracketBusters event in 2007-08 (in Akron) and 2009-10 (in Richmond). They also played the contractually obligated return games. That means this will be the fifth meeting between the two schools since 2008, none of which were actually scheduled by the schools.

> VCU won all four of the recent meetings between the schools and leads the all-time series 6-0. The Rams topped the Zips 76-75 in overtime on Dec. 29, 2011 in the last meeting. A baseline drive and layup by Darius Theus in the final seconds provided the final margin.

> Coach Smart was an assistant coach for Zips Coach Keith Dambrot from 2003-06. The two remain extremely close and openly root for each other when they're not playing.