Virginia Commonwealth shocked the world in 2011 with their run to the Final Four as an 11th seed but were a lock this season and rolled over Akron in the first round to prove it. No. 5 seeded VCU cruised to an 88-42 win over the No. 12 seeded Akron Zips Thursday to advance to the second round where they will face a strong Michigan squad.
VCU’s 46-point win over Akron set a new NCAA record, which didn’t last through the night. Syracuse went on to humiliate Montana in an 81-34 beating, which broke VCU’s record less than two hours after they set it.
VCU shot 53.8 percent from the field and went on a 16-3 run to end the first half that practically finished off the Zips in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Akron came into the game without suspended point guard Alex Abreu, and starter Brian Walsh was limited to just nine minutes due to flu-like symptoms.
Akron couldn’t get anything going against VCU Thursday as the Rams forced 21 turnovers in the lopsided win. The Rams were led by senior Troy Daniels who finished with 20 points and five rebounds.
Juvonte Reddic was superb for VCU, with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and six rebounds. The Rams never backed off the Zips, working their lead over 40 points before the final buzzer.
VCU head coach Shaka Smart spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Akron with the Zips current head coach Keith Dambrot. Smart went on to assistant coaching jobs at Clemson and Florida before being named VCU’s head coach in 2009.
The Rams match-up with Michigan on Saturday should be up-tempo and high scoring. No. 4 seeded Michigan beat South Dakota St. 71-56 in the first round and are led by the Big Ten Player of the Year, Trey Burke.
VCU has their work cut out for them against Michigan, but a win wouldn’t be an upset at all. VCU is playing as good as anyone in the tournament right now, and their physical play could run over the Wolverines just as it did the Zips. Does VCU continue their dominance and beat Michigan Saturday to advance to the Sweet Sixteen?