VCU played one of their biggest regular season games in program history on Saturday, as they hosted Butler in a matchup that pitted the Atlantic-10’s two highly-valued new additions.
Anyone that watched the game will tell you: the atmosphere was simply electric.
I’m not sure there has ever been a more anticipated ticket in the history of basketball in Richmond. Students even camped out on Friday night outside the Siegel Center, pitching tents and dubbing themselves “Shakaville”, in an effort to land the best seats on Saturday afternoon.
As a way of saying thank you, the man the tent village was named after swung by to drop off pizza for the hungry campers:
I couldn’t love the way Shaka Smart runs a program anymore.
Well, that’s not true.
If he showed up with fresh solo cups and a pack of clean ping pong balls, he would have written his ticket into the hall of fame.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: