VCU brings experience to NCAA Tournament

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (WRIC) — The VCU Rams have made it to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season. Given all that success, there are very few players who do not know what’s coming Friday when the Rams take on Oregon State.

Chesapeake Energy Arena is set for 1:30 eastern, 12:30 local. It’s a 7 vs 10 matchup so those that seeded this tournament consider the teams pretty even. But, VCU definitely has the advantage in the tournament experience department.

Still, there are players whom first-year Head Coach Will Wade brought in this year that will have to adjust to the increased pressure and excitement.

This is the sixth straight NCAA Tournament for VCU. Players like Melvin Johnson have been on this stage all four years of their career, and most of the rams have been here every year of theirs as well.

They are fully aware of the madness march brings.

“Once you make it here, you’re here,” Johnson told 8Sports. “Anything can happen for the most part. Anyone can be beat, so we don’t want to say we necessarily have a huge edge over them…the atmosphere…may be a little different…but outside of that it’s still basketball.

By contrast, this is the first NCAA tournament that Oregon State has made as a program in 26 years. Only Head Coach Wayne Tinkle, who guided the Montana Grizzlies to three NCAA Tournaments in eight seasons in Missoula, has NCAA tournament experience.

At the beginning of the week, we said ‘ok, the celebration time is over,’” Tinkle explained. “We have done a really neat thing here in erasing a 26-year drought but now let’s move on and let’s get focused.”

8Sports Director Mitch Carr is in Oklahoma City and will be following the Rams during their run in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter and look for highlights and reaction from Friday’s game on 8News at 6 and 11.

HAVOC Haven will also live blog the game here in Richmond. 

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