CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll

RICHMOND, Va. –  The VCU men's basketball team has long been known as one of the top mid-major programs in the country and once again, the Rams are expected to be in that group.

This year, Head Coach Shaka Smart and the Black & Gold find themselves picked 14th in CollegeInsider.com's Preseason Mid-Major Poll.

National Finalist Butler led the way, followed by Gonzaga and Wichita State. Old Dominion and George Mason were the only other representatives of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Monarchs were picked fourth, while the Patriots slid in at 16th.

VCU is led by four seniors, including Preseason All-CAA pick Joey Rodriguez, shooting guards Ed Nixon and Brandon Rozzell, as well as the frontcourt force known as Jamie Skeen. Along with junior Bradford Burgess, the Rams return four of five starters from last year's squad that went 27-9 and captured the 2010 CBI Championship.

The 27 wins were the second most in school history and helped the Black & Gold tally its fourth straight 20-plus win season and fourth straight postseason appearance.

After their exhibition opener this Thursday against Virginia Union, the Rams will open its regular season next Friday, Nov. 12th when the Spartans of UNC Greensboro visit the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

The U.S. Army Downtown Showdown against the Panthers on Thursday is set to get underway at 7:30 with the doors of the Siegel Center opening at 6 p.m.