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2011 NCAA Tournament: VCU Continues Improbable Advance To Final Four, Beats Kansas 71-61

The VCU Rams, a team the "experts" howled about when they were awarded a trip to the tournament have done the unthinkable: they've advanced to the Final Four.  In handing the Kansas Jayhawks only their third loss of the season, VCU put the finishing touches on one of the most improbable runs in NCAA tournament history. Today's 71-61 Rams victory was just the kind of game that makes the NCAA tournament so special.

VCU largely won the game in the first half, burying three after three and extending the lead to nearly twenty points.  The Morris twins looked tight and played uncertainly early, missing a litany of the free throws and let the Rams control the tempo.  The Morrises finished a combined 13 for 30 from the field.  Their frustration extended to the rest of their Jayhawk squad.

The Rams were spearheaded by the efforts of Jamie Skeen, a forward who transferred to VCU from from Wake Forest.  Skeen hit shots when they were needed most, especially in the second half when Kansas closed the margin, but never took the lead.  It was also a star making turn for point guard Joey Rodriguez who kept the VCU offense humming all afternoon.  Also, reserve guard Brandon Rozzell contributed four big three pointers that kept the Jayhawks at bay.  It was a team effort for coach Shaka Smart's squad who may just steal some of the Butler Bulldog's spotlight in Houston at the Final Four next weekend.

VCU will now face Butler for a chance to advance to the National Championship game.  You can't tell me that you predicted that two weeks ago.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.