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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 tonight in Dayton, Ohio.  The Flames of Liberty University of Lynchburg have burned out.  The Big South Tournament Champions, with a 15 – 20 record, took on the MEAC Champions,  North Carolina A & T in the NCAA’s opening game, also in Dayton, and it was the Aggies getting the big win 73 – 72.  For all of their hard work, A & T now gets to face the tournament’s top seed, No. 1 Louisville. 

 UVA was not selected despite a great season with a young team, but the Cavaliers are playing in the NIT and took care of business in their opening round game in Charlottesville against MEAC regular-season Champion Norfolk State University at JPJ Arena.  Virginia, a top seed in the NIT field, defeated the Spartans 67 – 56 to advance to the 2nd round.   The Spiders of UR will also get some extended play in the CBI (College Basketball Invitational) Tournament, which gets underway tonight 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, their fourth consecutive title, and will represent the state as they take on 2nd-seeded Duke University on Sunday afternoon..

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