RICHMOND, Va. - For the third straight season, the VCU men's basketball team is going dancing.
The Rams will take on long time non-conference foe, Akron, the Mid-American Conference Champions, on Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills. VCU will be the fifth seed in the South Region. It's the second highest seed in school history, next to the #2 seed that the 1984-85 squad received.
"It's certainly tough because of my history with Coach Dambrot and Akron, but I'm really proud of our guys earning a five seed," Head Coach Shaka Smart said. "That's a big accomplishment and it says a lot about how hard this group of guys work on a daily basis."
Smart spent three seasons (2003-06) as an assistant coach at Akron and remains close friends with the Zips' Head Coach Keith Dambrot. This will be the fifth meeting in the past six years between the two programs including a thrilling 76-75 overtime victory for VCU last season in Akron. All-time, the Rams are 6-0 against the Zips.
It's the third time in school history that the Black & Gold have been a five seed, joining the 1980-1981 and 1982-83 squads. Both teams won their first round matchups. This is also the first time since in 28 years that the Rams have earned three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.
In all, VCU played a total of 11 teams that earned trips to this year's NCAA Tournament.
The winner of VCU's matchup with Akron, will take on the winner of fourth-seeded Michigan and 13th-seeded South Dakota State. That Round of 32 game will be on Saturday.
All game times will be announced early Monday morning.