The 2013 – 14 College Basketball season gets underway this week, and with heavy expectations, the VCU Rams will take the floor for their season opener on Friday night at the Siegal Center against the Redbirds of Illinois State. The Rams begin the season ranked No. 14 in the Top 25, and many sports analysts have gone as far as to place VCU in the Final Four. That’s actually “Smart” thinking, because word is, Head Coach Shaka Smart has a “monster” of a team, one that could go 10 or 11 deep. This is VCU’s second year in the Atlantic 10, which has become a national force with the likes of St. Louis, Dayton, George Mason, and our locals, the Rams and the Spiders of UR.
Richmond also opens the season this Friday at the Robins Center as the Spiders welcome Delaware to the Capital City. UR hopes to turn things around this season after the 2012 campaign seemed to slip slowly away from them. The opportunity for a great start is there with Richmond playing at home on the West End for their first four games, which includes a big challenge against Minnesota and a date with 12th-ranked North Carolina in Connecticut. In Charlottesville, the Cavaliers of UVA, ranked 24th, will begin the season at JPJ Arena against the Dukes of James Madison, which will serve as a tune-up for the much-anticipated meeting with VCU on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech gets the new season started on Saturday in Blacksburg against USC-Upstate. The Hokies also hope to reverse their fortunes this year with 7 of their first eight games at home, and in that stretch is a date with 2nd-ranked Michigan State. In the MEAC, Hampton University will kick off their season in the PirateDome against William & Mary, while Norfolk State will open on the road in Texas on Saturday night at SWAC member Texas Southern.
The CIAA will begin it’s 101st season this weekend as the Trojans of Virginia State University take the court under new management, and it follows VSU’s biggest football rival game against Virginia Union on Saturday afternoon. Lonnie Blow, Jr takes over at VSU after an outstanding run as Head Coach at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh. The Trojans will open the season in West Virginia in a two-day, four- team tournament at Fairmount State. Virginia State will play West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday night and the host team on Sunday. While the other teams will be three or four games into the season, Virginia Union won’t begin the season until their November 20th home date with Johnson C. Smith.