RICHMOND, Va. -- For the first time since 2006, the VCU Rams will not play in a national post season basketball tournament.
The Rams finished this season at 18-15 and with a loss in the A-10 quarterfinals to Rhode Island. They were not selected for the NCAA or NIT tournaments, and they declined to participate in either the CBI or CIT tournaments which require an entry fee to join.
"No one is a bigger proponent of playing games," said VCU head coach Mike Rhoades of the school's decision to pass up those opportunities. "I think right where we're at, the guys we have... taking care of their bodies and getting healthier sooner rather than later was too important."
Three different players will have MRIs this week on various injuries. The offseason also provides some of the best time to improve physically for next year.
"We have some guys we need to get bigger and stronger," Rhoades added. "I don't want to delay that."
The Rams won the CBI back in 2010, their first season under former head coach Shaka Smart. They also appeared in the NIT in 2008, and the NCAA in every other year since 2007.
Rhoades hopes the VCU fans will be as appreciative of that history as he is even though their NCAA string will come to an end this year.
There's been so much success in this program for a long, long time," Rhoades said. "We should have a high level of humility because we're fortunate enough to be at a program, and our fans can cheer for a program that has a chance to go out and win, and win a lot."
"This isn't given," Rhoades continued. "This doesn't happen every year just because you have VCU on your jersey. I knew what I signed up for, that there was going to be major changes in the program. We're going to continue to move forward and build our culture the right way, and the success will be there."
VCU loses three seniors, Justin Tillman, Johnny Williams and Khris Lane, and will have several new faces next year. That change will be another part of the growing process as Rhoades continues to mold the program in his second year.
"To build upon this program, the number one thing you have to have is a culture," Rhoades explained. "We are making decisions all the time based on our culture and how strong we want it to be. Sometimes part of that culture is going through some tough periods, and we've experienced that this past year."