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VCU Proves Playing In The First Four Isn't A Bad Thing

Being one of the last four at-large teams to earn bids to the 2011 NCAA Tournament was supposed to be seen as a disadvantage. For most of those teams, it was. All of them, in fact, except for the VCU Rams.

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The Clemson Tigers won their First Four game, and then proceeded to lose by eight points to the West Virginia Mountaineers of the weak Big East Conference. Two of the other First Four winners fared much worse. The UTSA Roadrunners and the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs each lost by more than 20 points to their second round opponents.

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Not the Rams though. They embraced the role. And they embraced the idea that none of the experts thought they should be in the Tournament at all. Now they're in the Sweet Sixteen. And unlike any other team in the Sweet Sixteen, VCU had to win three games to get there. Shaka Smart must be doing something right.