Mitch Malone’s 804 Hoops Blog: VCU, UVA Romp, Meet Tuesday At JPJ

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The 2013 – 14 College Basketball season got underway this past weekend, and with lots of  heavy expectations, the VCU Rams took 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 for the most part, they looked like it in a 96 – 58 rout.  Head Coach Shaka Smart has a “monster” of a team, one that could go 10 or 11 deep this season, which is off to a fine start.  This is VCU’s second year in the Atlantic 10, which has become a national force, and the Rams will make a not so frequent trip to Charlottesville on Tuesday to take on 24th-ranked UVA.

Richmond also opened the season Friday at the Robins Center as the Spiders welcomed 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 & North Carolina in the mix.  UR squeezed past the Blue Hens of Delaware 71 – 69  in a close encounter.  In Charlottesville, the Cavaliers of UVA, ranked 24th,  began the season at JPJ Arena with a relatively easy 61 – 41 win over the Dukes of  James Madison University

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech got the new season started on Saturday in Blacksburg against USC-Upstate.   Please don’t ask Who?  Why, because Tech lost to this team 64 – 63.  The Hokies also were hoping 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 kicked off their season in the PirateDome with a 77 – 69 victory over William & Mary, while Norfolk State will opened on the road in Texas with a 95 – 83 loss on Saturday night at SWAC member Texas Southern.

The CIAA began it’s 101st season this weekend as the Trojans of Virginia State University took the court under new management.  Lonnie Blow, Jr takes over at VSU after an outstanding run as Head Coach at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh.  The Trojans opened the season in West Virginia in a two-day, four- team tournament at Fairmount State with a 70 – 66 win over West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday night.  The Panthers of VUU got their season off on a losing note as the Union fell 102 – 94  in Atlanta against Morehouse.  Virginia Union won’t play in Richmond until their November 20th home date with Johnson C. Smith.

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