WHAT: VCU vs. Central Florida (NCAA Tournament First Round)
WHERE: Columbia, S.C. (Colonial Life Arena)
WHEN: 9:40 p.m. (approx.)
THE SERIES: First meeting
LAST MEETING: n/a
TV: CBS - Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Bill Raftery and Grant Hill (color), Tracy Wolfson (sideline)
RADIO: Ram Radio (910 The Fan & BIG 98.5) l Listen
LIVE STATS: NCAA
TWITTER: @VCU_Hoops l @VCUscores l @VCUHorns l @VCUAthletics
2019 Atlantic 10 Conference Regular Season Champion VCU returns to the NCAA Tournament this weekend following a one-year hiatus. The Rams have appeared in eight of the past nine NCAA Tournaments and 11 since 2004. VCU is 13-16 all-time in NCAA play, and the Rams reached the 2011 Final Four.
VCU captured its first outright A-10 regular season crown by two games over Davidson. The Rams also shared the title in 2015-16 with Dayton and St. Bonaventure. The Rams have improved by seven wins over their 18-15 mark in 2017-18 in Coach Mike Rhoades' first season.
No program has won more games in A-10 play than VCU since the Rams joined the league for the 2012-13 campaign. VCU is 89-33 in conference play over that span, a .730 winning percentage. VCU is also 13-6 in A-10 Tournament play.
VCU has never met this year's NCAA First Round opponent Central Florida. VCU is 1-2 all-time against potential Second Round match-up Duke, including a 79-77 triumph over the Blue Devils in the First Round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, N.Y. The Rams are 1-0 all-time against N.C. Central and have never met North Dakota State.
VCU tied program records for regular season victories (25) and conference wins (16) this year.
The Rams, picked seventh in the A-10 Preseason Poll, are led by 2019 A-10 Coach of the Year Mike Rhoades, as well as All-Atlantic 10 First Team selection Marcus Evans and Third Team pick De'Riante Jenkins.
VCU has been driven this season by its defense. The Rams rank seventh nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (88.6), third in effective field goal defense (.430), second in 3-point field goal defense (.276) and ninth in turnover percentage (23.4). VCU has held 15 opponents to 60 points or fewer this season.
Marcus Evans (left knee bone bruise) is listed as day-to-day. He injuried the knee on a layup attempt with 6:42 remaining of the first half of the Rams' A-10 Quarterfinal against Rhode Island on March 15.