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VCU earns NCAA tournament invite. Here’s who the Rams play first

Marcus Santos-Silva #35 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams celebrates during their Atlantic 10 basketball tournament quarterfinal game at Barclays Center on March 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. — Five college basketball teams from Virginia are dancing in this year’s NCAA tournament, including Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

VCU (25-7, 16-2)

The VCU Rams men’s basketball team are a #8 seed and will play #9 seed University of Central Florida Friday in Columbia, S.C. in the East Region. Should VCU win, #1 Duke likely awaits.

Watch VCU take on UCF Friday night on CBS 6!

VCU shattered expectations this season by winning the Atlantic 10 regular season title. The Rams, led by A-10 Coach of the Year Mike Rhoades, were predicted to finish seventh in the conference in the preseason poll.

With a 25-7 overall record and a 16-2 league record, the Rams boast one of the top defenses in the country, only allowing 61.2 points per game.

The Rams hold impressive wins over Temple, Hofstra, Texas and a season sweep of Dayton. VCU also narrowly lost to UVA by nine points in a game where they led most of the second half.

The team is led by junior guard Marcus Evans who averages nearly 14 points per game and was named to the A-10 All-Conference First Team and All-Academic Team. Evans went down with a left knee injury in their quarterfinals loss in the A-10 tournament. The injury was diagnosed as a deep bone bruise. There was no structural damage.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – DECEMBER 09: Marcus Evans #2 of the VCU Rams shoots over Kihei Clark #0 and De’Andre Hunter #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on December 9, 2018 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

Evans is expected to be ready to play in the NCAA tournament, according to a team spokesperson.

The Rams also get major contributes juniors De’Riante Jenkins, Issac Vann, and sophomore Marcus Santos-Silva.

After missing the NCAA tournament in 2018, breaking a seven-year streak, the Rams are looking to regain their mojo in March and begin a new tournament streak.

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