Feb 28, 2013, 11:54 AM EDT
VCU has plenty to play for down the stretch of the season.
The Rams will be taking on the Atlantic 10′s other new addition on Saturday, as they host Butler at noon in the first meeting between the two teams since the 2011 Final Four, when Brad Stevens took down Shaka Smart’s club en route to their second consecutive title game.
In a vacuum, that creates quite a bit of intrigue heading into Saturday, but there’s more at stake than simple pride. VCU is currently a game up on Butler in the A-10 standings and a game behind St. Louis for first place. A loss would end any chance the Bulldogs have of winning a share of the regular season title, while VCU doesn’t want to fall two games off the pace with just two games remaining.
And given the style of play that Smart teaches — Havoc! — and the way that he always demands energy and intensity out of his team, it’s hard to believe that VCU has ever had a “quiet” practice.
But, if it’s truly possible, a VCU practice last week was even more intense than usual thanks to a special visitor. From David Teel:
Spike Lee strolled into a VCU basketball practice last week. The renowned filmmaker, hoops maven and Reggie Miller foil was speaking on campus and wanted to check out coach Shaka Smart’s Rams.
“All of a sudden, it went from a good practice to a through-the-roof practice,” Smart said Wednesday of Lee’s arrival. :I probably would have been the same way when I was 18, 19 years old. The guys were just hootin’ and hollerin’. I’ve never heard out team talk so much. I wish we could take him on the road with us.”
That’s how you know you’ve made it as a basketball program.
It’s not the Final Fours or the games on ESPN or the sold out Siegel Center.
When Spike Lee wants to watch you practice, you’ve officially hit the big-time.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
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