VCU pulled off a sports two-fer this year. All it took was beating Kansas.
The Rams’ victory during the NCAA tournament’s Southwest Regional Final sent them to the Final Four for the first time in school history. Only Butler and George Mason had done that since the Big Dance expanded in 1985.
That stunning win against the region’s top seed also gave VCU an ESPY for the year’s “Best Upset,” beating out the likes of the Seattle Seahawks over the New Orleans Saints, Blame’s victory over Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup and Fedor Emelianenko losing an MMA match to Fabricio Werdum.
Kansas excels at producing “Best Upset” winners. Bucknell and Northern Iowa also won it thanks to NCAA wins vs. the Jayhawks. That’s half of winners in the award’s history.
Coach Shaka Smart accepted the trophy, along with seniors Joey Rodriguez, Jamie Skeen, Brandon Rozzell and Ed Nixon and junior Bradford Burgess.
“We’d like to thank ESPN,” Smart said. “We’d like to thank all of our fans back in Richmond. We couldn’t have done it without you. I want to thank our basketball family at VCU, all the coaches, academic advisers, strength coaches, everybody that contributed to this.”
Smart also tweeted a shoutout to his followers and VCU fans.
It was yet another reminder that VCU, an 11 seed in the tournament that had to play an extra game along the way, pulled off a remarkable feat in March.
“They proved one important thing in sports,” Smart said.” It really doesn’t matter what anyone else says.”
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