RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - One year after receiving what some considered a surprise invitation to the NCAA tournament, VCU Rams head coach Shaka Smart and his players went into Sunday night's Selection Show with confidence knowing they would hear their name called on TV.
As champion of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, held earlier this month at the Richmond Coliseum, the Rams earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
"We certainly could sit back a little bit more than we did last year," Smart said Sunday night. "It was still a feeling of anxiousness. We were excited to see who we were going to play and where we were going to go."
The NCAA Selection Committee awarded VCU a #12 seed in the South region. The Rams will play their first game in Portland, Oregon Thursday against #5 seed Wichita State University.
"We're excited about the draw we got, playing out in Portland against a talented Wichita State team. It's a good opportunity for us," said senior Bradford Burgess.
Many of the players who lead the VCU Rams on their a historic run to the Final Four graduated last year. These Rams said they are ready to make their own mark on college basketball history.
"We're starting our own legacy," said junior guard Troy Daniel. "Winning the CAA championship was something we did not do last year. It's just a great feeling to win the CAA championship and get back into the tournament."
VCU's game on Thursday night will be shown at 7:15 p.m. on CBS 6.