VCU, along with Butler, is headed off to the Atlantic 10 next season.
One of the most intriguing story lines heading into the year is whether or not two of the nation’s best mid-major programs — the last two mid-majors to make the Final Four, when they squared off in 2011 — will be able to handle the transition to a stronger conference.
As VCU Ram Nation determined, Shaka Smart’s boys shouldn’t have an issue:
VCU has gone 15-5 over the past 10 seasons against current A-10 teams, but grabbed the majority of their Ws against cross-town rival Richmond, notching eight of those 15 victories against the Spiders.
The Rams dominated at home but went just 5-3 in true road games during that span. However, one of those victories included a CBI Championship at St. Louis in 2010.
I urge you to go through and look at the research that Mat Shelton and company did, because it is good stuff. It also got me interested in how Butler fared over that same time frame against the current A-10 schools. The answer? 4-4 (scroll to the bottom for the full breakdown).
Four of those games came against Xavier in the past four season, a series that Butler split despite losing the last two games. While the Final Four battle with VCU is clearly the most important game, the most exciting came back in 2009-2010, when Xavier lost to Butler on a buzzer-beating layup from Gordon Hayward. The game ended in controversy, however. The clock stopped in the final seconds, meaning that instead of Xavier having 1.2 seconds to try and win the game, the referees blew the whistle and ended it.
Here is the full breakdown of games:
Xavier 73, BUTLER 61
XAVIER 51, Butler 49
Butler 70, VCU 62 (Final Four)
BUTLER 69, Xavier 68
Butler 74, XAVIER 65
Richmond 69, BUTLER 68
ST. LOUIS 72, Butler 54
BUTLER 68, St. Louis 46