VCU Wichita State

March 16, 2012 by staff 

VCU Wichita State, Last year, Virginia Commonwealth got to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed. Care to guess how far the Rams can get this year as a No. 12? VCU Mania is officially back in session, thanks to the Rams’ thrilling 62-59 upset victory against No. 5 seed Wichita State Thursday in Portland’s Rose Garden arena. A No. 12 seed has won in 22 of the last 24 tournaments.

In the next round Saturday, VCU (29-6) will play fourth-seeded Indiana, a 79-66 winner over No. 13 seed New Mexico State.

VCU coach Shaka Smart prepared his team by splicing together some tape of variousanlysts talking about their brackets.

“I would say 95% of them picked Wichita State,” Smart said. “If we didn’t have enough confidence, that could shake us. But our guys are pretty confident.

“If you have something to prove, you’re going to play a little harder, be a little tougher.”

What had been a rather sloppy game with poor shooting by both sides turned into an old-fashioned shootout at the end, with both teams hitting a series of pressurized three-pointers.

But the biggest basket came on a runner in the lane by VCU junior guard Darius Theus, who scored over Shockers 7-foot center Garrett Stutz on a floater that bounced high off the rim and fell through the net with 18 seconds left for a 62-59 lead.

“I saw the middle open,” Theus said. “I saw Stutz step up, so I knew I had to get the ball over him. I got a lucky bounce and it rolled in.”

Wichita State called time to set up a game-tying three-point attempt, but the Shockers’ best three-point shooter, guard Joe Ragland, gave the ball up and never got it back.

Stutz was forced to beat the clock with an off-balance, step-back three-point try that clanged off the rim. He had made just 10 of 31 three-point shots this year.

“They’re long and they’re aggressive on the perimeter, and they did a good job on it,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said of VCU’s defense on the last possession. “Garrett had a look. It wasn’t a great look, but it was a look.”

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