Mar 21, 2011, 11:17 PM EDT
Of all the college basketball hotbeds – North Carolina’s Triangle; Philly; Metro Washington, D.C.; even Boston and New York City if you’re looking for sheer quantity – Richmond, Virginia is not one of them.
A few upsets here and some stellar shooting performances there, and The River City is feeling pretty important right now, as it’s home to two of the 16 teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament. Yes that’s right, Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth still stand, as each yearn to be crowed this year’s true Cinderella Story.
To put things into perspective, here are some much larger land masses that can’t lay claim to that distinction; places that do not have two teams playing in the Sweet 16.
- The State of California
- The Pacific Time Zone
- The Northeast Megalopolis- The area of land beginning in Washington, D.C. and extending up to Boston, home to 43+ million people.
- China – Home to 1.33 billion people.
How crazy is that?
A city of just 204,000 residents, which may be best known for the setting of politician Patrick Henry’s 1775 “Give me Liberty of Give me Death” speech that set into motion colonial Virginia’s revolution and subsequent independence, is now home to two established universities just a pair of victories away from the Final Four. Even cooler, both teams are in the same region, meaning they’re just one victory away from actually playing against each other for the right to play in the Final Four!
It’s clear that while big name programs like Kansas, UNC and Duke still remain, Richmond and VCU are still getting their share of national attention. Spiders head coach Chris Mooney is the game’s hottest young coach, likely springboarding off this run to greener pastures, so his name is connected to all major vacancies. For VCU, Purdue head coach Matt Painter told the media after his Boilermakers were waxed by the Rams that he was just beaten by “a championship caliber team.”
While the two square off in a non-conference battle each and every season, Richmond-VCU doesn’t quite have the bloody hatred, name-recognition rivalry that projects to a national level. The Spiders did get the best of the Rams at the Robins Center back in December, snapping a six-game losing streak against their cross-town brethren from the CAA.
But that’s sort of irrelevant right now. The mere fact that this mid-sized city has two teams advancing this far in such a captivating event is just a blast to see unfold.
- Pressure mounting on Texas head coach Rick Barnes? 0
- Former Memphis forward Tarik Black will spend senior year at Kansas 1
- The bond between Rick Byrd and Casey Alexander crosses rivalry lines 1
- How did Bill Self learn about Andrew Wiggins’ commitment? Twitter 0
- Report: Baylor coach told Griner not to talk about her sexuality 13
- John Calipari: ‘We’re chasing perfection’ (14)
- Report: Baylor coach told Griner not to talk about her sexuality (13)
- Big Ten considering ‘protected rivalries’ for basketball schedule (9)
- Federal tax documents reveal that Mike Krzyzewski made $9.7 million in 2011 (4)
- Evan Gordon is transferring to Indiana (4)
- Sharks pull even with Kings
- PBT: Cavs win NBA draft lottery, will pick No. 1
- PBT: Nick Gilbert again Cavs' good luck charm
- PBT: Grizzlies figuring out Spurs after Game 2
- PBT: Spurs survive Grizzlies' late run, win in OT
- PHT: Bruins rally in third, put Rangers in 3-0 hole
- PFT: Jim Harbaugh to drive Indy 500 pace car