Shaka Smart

Virginia Commonwealth reportedly moving to the A-10 in 2013

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Days after intra-conference foe George Mason affirmed that it would remain in the Colonial Athletic Association, Virginia Commonwealth is headed to the Atlantic 10, Brett McMurphy of is reporting.

According to McMurphy, an official announcement will come from the school this week.

Virginia Commonwealth joins Butler as the two newest members of the conference.

With these two additions, the A-10 has added teams that have combined for three Final Four appearances in the past three seasons.

The move is an attempt to fill in for the losses of Temple, which has moved to the Big East, and Charlotte, which has departed for Conference-USA.

VCU reportedly favored the move because the CAA is more prone to being a “one-bid” conference, whereas the Atlantic 10 has sent multiple teams to the NCAA tournament for each of the past five seasons.

As McMurphy points out, the CAA has had just four at-large bids into the tournament since 2000, while the Atlantic 10 had three just this past year.

Head coach Shaka Smart has led the Rams to success over the past three seasons and has increased VCU’s national brand in the process.

After winning the CBI championship in 2009-10, the Rams enjoyed a run to the Final Four in 2010-11, and came back this past season, making it to the Round of 32 of the NCAA tournament.

The Atlantic 10 was reportedly in talks with George Mason as well, but was only looking to add one more team, which ended with this news of VCU’s move.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)