RICHMOND, Va. – Head Coach Shaka Smart of the VCU Men's Basketball was entering his first season as an assistant coach at the Division I level the last time Richmond beat the Rams in the annual Farm Bureau Insurance Black & Blue Classic.
This year, the Spiders are out to end that streak and at 7-2 will not be an easy out for Smart and the Rams. Saturday night at the Robins Center at 7 p.m. the two cross-town rivals will face off for the 65th time.
Here's some notables heading into the River City Rumble:
- Seventh Heaven: Recent history of this rivalry has been owned by VCU, who has won six straight against its city rival. The past two showdowns have been nail-biters with a combined nine points being the deciding factor.
- Painting the Streets Black & Gold: VCU has been quite successful within the city limits of Richmond, winning 41 of its past 44 games inside the capital city of Virginia. Over that stretch, the Rams are 35-2 at the Siegel Center, 5-1 at the Richmond Coliseum and 1-0 in the Robins Center.
- Commonwealth Supremacy: Entering tonight's match-up the Rams are 203-121 (.627) all-time against in-state opponents. Recently, the Black & Gold have won seven straight against in-state non-conference opponents and haven't lost to such an opponent since Nov. 29, 2007 in a 64-55 loss at Hampton.
- Giant Slayers: Since the start of the 2009-10, these two schools have combined for eight wins over BCS schools (8-4 overall). Richmond has five, while VCU has three (Oklahoma in 09-10, Wake Forest and UCLA this year).
- Battle of the Brainiacs: While the talent on the court today is pretty impressive, the intelligence on the sidelines might be even more with UR Head Coach Chris Mooney spending his college years at Princeton, while Smart was accepted to multiple Ivy League schools and graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College, one of the finest liberal arts institutions.
- Let's Test Out That Pacemaker: It's a good thing Coach Smart has youth on his side because the Black & Gold have been adding some stress into the life with the past five games being decided by no more than six points. In each one, the score differential with five minutes left was no more than four points.
- Family Share Plan: With 20 more assists in the 86-80 win over VMI on Wednesday, the Rams continued to share the love and now rank 15th in the country in assists per game, dishing out an average of 17.4 per outing.