The Virginia Commonwealth Rams made a Final Four run in last year's NCAA tournament, and as the No. 12 seed in the South region, they are going to have to hope find another Cinderella run in the 2012 tourney.
When the team made their miracle run last season, they started out as a team participating in one of the play-in games. They took down the USC Trojans—and that is where it all was just getting started. From their, they took down team after team, which included an Elite Eight victory over the Kansas Jayhawks.
The team finally fell to the Butler Bulldogs in the Final Four, a team that made a similar miracle run just a season ago.
Coach Shaka Smart will have to hope he can make a similar repeat performance as the Bulldogs did, as they made the Final Four (and the title game) in back-to-back seasons. Despite the Bulldogs proving it in 2010, the odds were still against them going into the 2011 tourney.
For the Rams to make things happen yet again, they are going to need to hope for another fairy tale story.
Their first-round matchup with No. 5 Wichita State won't be an easy opening match, as the Shockers have been averaging nearly 80 points a game this season. They also took down some respectable teams along the way, defeating the likes of UNLV and Creighton.
It was a loss to Illinois State in their conference tournament that should send worries to the Shockers—and hope to the Rams.
Escaping that obstacle isn't impossible, but it won't be easy.
Things don't get any easier for the Rams after that, but solid veteran play from players like Bradford Burgess, Juvonte Reddic and Troy Daniels will keep a similar Cinderella run in the fold.
Their potential opponents after the Shockers include either the Indiana Hoosiers or New Mexico State. With the Hoosiers the likely victors in that matchup, the Rams definitely have the ability to upset the Big Ten squad.
The Hoosiers have been playing well this season, just dropping eight games. They did fall to the likes of Minnesota and Iowa, but they also took down teams like Michigan State and Kentucky.
The Rams won't have an easy time getting passed the Hoosiers, if that is who they get, but this same team proved to us last year that they can surely defy the odds.
The biggest roadblock for the Rams in regards to a serious run at a Final Four berth is the fact that the No. 1 team in the nation—the Kentucky Wildcats—sit in their bracket.
That potential Sweet 16 matchup will be extremely difficult for the Rams, but as we saw this past season, the Wildcats can be beaten.
They lost to the Hoosiers and most recently Vanderbilt in the conference final of the SEC tournament. While the odds will be heavily in favor of the Wildcats, they are definitely "beatable."
The Rams have a ways to go yet again, but coach Smart has proven to us that it isn't impossible.