Teams: Syracuse Orange (2-1, 0-0) vs. VCU Rams (2-2, 0-0)
Day & Time: Wednesday, November 24, 5 pm ET
Location: Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas
TV/Streaming: ESPN2, WatchESPN
Rivalry: 3-0, Syracuse
Current Streak: 3, Syracuse
First Meeting: Syracuse and VCU played each other for the first time in the first round of the 1984 NCAA tournament. Syracuse won 78-63 with Rafael Addison leading the way with 24 points.
Last Meeting: A balanced scoring attack from the Orange propelled Syracuse to a 94-81 win over VCU on December 5, 1992. Lawrence Moten, John Wallace and Adrian Autry all had 17 points in the win.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (46th year, 1,085-410) | VCU - Mike Rhoades (fifth year, 82-45)
Coach Bio: Rhoades was an accomplished Division III player at Lebanon Valley College in southeastern Pennsylvania. He graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer and was also named the Division III Player of the Year in 1995. Rhoades then took an assistant coaching job after college at Division III Randolph-Macon in Virginia. He would be promoted to head coach after the previous head coach, Hal Nunnally, retired. Rhoades took the head coaching role at just 25 years old and stayed in charge for 10 seasons.
In 2009, Rhoades moved to VCU to take the associate head coaching role as his first Division I job. He’d get his first chance at a Division I head coaching job at Rice. The Owls finished 12-20 in Rhoades’ first two seasons in charge, but flipped the script in his third season, going 23-12. After that season, Rhoades went back to VCU, now as its head coach after Will Wade left the job for LSU. VCU has won at least 18 games under Rhoades every season and has made the NCAA tournament twice with him as head coach.
Last Year: With the Atlantic 10 as usual being very competitive, VCU did well to finish 10-4 in conference and enter the A-10 tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Rams made it all the way to the A-10 finals, losing to St. Bonaventure in the championship game. VCU did receive an at-large bid to qualify for the NCAA tournament as a 10-seed, but positive COVID-19 tests in the VCU program called off its first round game against Oregon, moving the Ducks on and ending the Rams’ season.
Last Game: VCU’s weird start to the season continued with a game against Chattanooga, and the Rams lost on a last second jumper. Both teams shot under 50% from the floor in the game.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Vince Williams is VCU’s leading returning scorer and is the only Ram to average double figure points so far this season with 12.3. He’s also shooting 43.5% from three as pretty much the only deep threat on the Rams’ roster.
If Syracuse Wins: WE WANT BAYLOR (and we’re probably getting Baylor)
If Syracuse Loses: At least the team can hang with James on the beach.
Fun Fact: In every game that VCU has played this season, none of the teams involved, be it VCU or its opponents, have scored over 60 points.