RICHMOND, Va. – For the first time in nearly 30 years, the VCU men's basketball program will have a number beside its name in papers across the country.
Head Coach Shaka Smart and the Rams entered the Associated Press Top-25 poll for the first time since 1984-85 this week, slotted at #22. The Black & Gold moved into the Top-20 of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, ranked #19.
"I think it's a testament to the progress that the program has made going back several years, way before I came to VCU," Head Coach Shaka Smart said. "It's all about the players; they're the ones that win the games. As coaches, we've been fortunate to have a great group of guys and it says a lot about our guys and the work they've put in so far. However, the key for us is that we're right in the absolute middle point of our season, so we don't want to be satisfied. We appreciate that our fans and everyone is fired up about the ranking, but in the end, we all have to be focused on getting better each time we step on the court."
The Rams are riding the nation's third-longest winning streak at 11 and enter this week with a 14-3 mark after opening up their inaugural season of Atlantic 10 Conference play with wins over Dayton and St. Bonaventure.
VCU's HAVOC style has led them to the nation's top mark in total steals (224), steals per game (13.2) and turnover margin (8.6).
During the 1984-85 season, the Black & Gold spent eight weeks in the AP Top 25, finishing the year ranked 11th in the country.
VCU returns to action on Thursday evening when it hosts Preseason A10 favorite Saint Joseph's in a 9 p.m. tilt. The game can be seen nationally on CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan and Pete Gillen on the call.