Heading into Selection Sunday, fans of the Colonial Athletic Association knew the league would get two bids, as tournament champion Old Dominion was locked in and regular season force George Mason was comfortably on the right side of the experts' bubbles. CAA supporters' attention was focused on a far more unlikely outcome, banding together in hopes that the hashtag #3bids4caa would go from wishful thinking to reality.
Three quarters of the way through CBS's selection telecast, after Clemson, UAB, and Georgia received bids, the collective mood of the CAA fan base was decidedly downcast. No less a luminary than Gheorghe: The Blog's T.J. Doyle tweeted "Somebody find me that 'Game over, man' clip."
And then, the 11th seed in the Southwest was announced, and VCU's name appeared next to USC's in a play-in game. The two will match up in Dayton on Tuesday to see who moves on to face Georgetown. A outpouring of joy followed amongst the followers of a league they believed to be one of the best mid-major conferences, a league that boasts a Final Four run, and wins this year against the Big East, PAC-10, and ACC, but carries a history of painful snubs (see Hofstra, 2006 and William & Mary, 2011, et al).
VCU's selection gives the CAA three participants in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the league's nearly 30-year history. And regardless of what happens this week, CAA fans won't soon forget this evening's excitement.