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Let the ” Madness ” begin! The conference tournaments are complete, the brackets are all set, and the excitement begins this week in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, more affectionately known as March Madness. True college basketball junkies live for this week of fast-moving, whirlwind action on the courts all around the nation, and Richmond’s representative is no stranger to these proceedings. The VCU Rams are seeded 5th in the South Region and will take on Akron University in the opening round on Thursday in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Rams head coach Shaka Smart was a former assistant at Akron before arriving at VCU so this will be a clash amongst friends. VCU lost 62 – 56 to St. Louis on Sunday in the Atlantic – 10 Championship.

Other Virginia schools in the tournament include the Dukes of James Madison University, who are seeded 16th and will play Long Island University-Brooklyn on Wednesday, while Liberty University of Lynchburg, who won the Big South Tournament with a 15 – 20 record, will battle the MEAC Champions, the Aggies of North Carolina A & T, on Tuesday. Those games will take place in Dayton, Ohio. UVA was not selected despite a great season with a young team, but the Cavaliers will play in the NIT with an opening round home game in Charlottesville against the MEAC regular-season Champion Spartans of Norfolk State university on Tuesday night at JPJ Arena.

The Spiders of UR will also get some extended play in the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) Tournament, which gets underway Wednesday night with Richmond playing at Bryant University in Rhode Island. In the Women’s NCAA Tournament, the Lady Pirates of Hampton University won the MEAC Championship again, and will represent the state as the NCAA Women’s selection show airs tonight to set the brackets.

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