NCAA Tournament: VCU Outlasts Florida State In Overtime, Advances To First Elite 8 Appearance

Bradford Burgess scored a basket with seven seconds left off another nicely designed inbounds play, and VCU defeated Florida State 72-71 to advance to the Elite Eight.

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NCAA Bracket Update: VCU Outlasts Florida State In Overtime, Moves On To Elite 8

VCU coach Shaka Smart drew up a great inbounds pass that worked to perfection and the Rams ensured there will be one team from the city of Richmond in the Elite Eight.

Bradford Burgess scored a layup off a bounce pass from Joey Rodriguez with 7.1 seconds left in overtime, and 11th-seeded VCU made it to the Southwest Regional final of the NCAA Tournament with a dramatic 72-71 squeaker over No. 10 seed Florida State.

After Burgess' basket, the Seminoles (23-11) had one last effort snuffed out. Derwin Kitchen drove to the right baseline, but passed to Chris Singleton. His shot was blocked by Jamie Skeen as the buzzer sounded.

The Rams (27-11) will next face Kansas, the lone remaining top-seeded team in the tourney. The Jayhawks blew out No. 12 seed Richmond, 77-57, in the first game Friday at the Alamodome.

For more on the game, VCU fans should celebrate at SB Nation DC, while dejected Florida State fans should head to Tomahawk Nation to sulk.

EAST REGION
No. 4 Kentucky def, No. 1 Ohio State, 62-60
No. 2 UNC def. No. 11 Marquette, 81-63

WEST REGION
No. 5 Arizona Wildcats def. No. 1 Duke Blue Devils, 99-77
No. 3 Connecticut Huskies def. No. 2 San Diego State, 74-67

SOUTHWEST REGION
No. 1 Kansas def. No. 12 Richmond Spiders, 77-57
No. 11 VCU Rams def. No. 10 Florida State Seminoles, 72-71 (OT)

SOUTHEAST REGION
No. 8 Butler def. No. 4 Wisconsin, 61-54 
No. 2 Florida def. No. 3 BYU. Thursday, 84-73

More 2011 March Madness resources: Visit our NCAA Tournament hub for up-to-date news and information ... updated printable NCAA Tournament bracket.

Check the full NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 schedule, and see predictions and previews for each game.

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Florida State vs. VCU Score: Rams Carry 36-31 Lead Over Seminoles Into The Half

Things got off to a bang between Florida State and VCU in the Sweet Sixteen with both teams hitting three-pointers. The game looked like it was going to turn into a shootout…and then it didn’t. Both teams went ice-cold almost immediately and that 6-5 FSU start remained that was well into the 15:54 mark.

VCU eeked out a 16-15 lead over the Seminoles by the ten-minute mark thanks to Bradford Burgess’ hot shooting. With FSU shooting in the 30% range for most of the half, the Rams should have run away with things sooner but their own ugly play held them back.

Late in the half, Burgess hits a huge 3-pointer to increase VCU’s lead to nine with about two minutes to play. Just when it looked like VCU was going to blow this one open, however, the Seminoles finally woke up. A three-pointer by Michael DerSnaer and three-point play by Derwin Kitchen cut VCU’s lead to three. VCU got one last shot in, however, when Darius Theus split two defenders and banked in a floater with 14 seconds left to give VCU a 36-31 edge heading into halftime.

Burgess leads all scorers with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Kitchen leads FSU with 12 points and five rebounds.

Stay with SB Nation’s Tomahawk Nation for Florida State updates and SB Nation DC has you covered on VCU.

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Sweet 16 Predictions, Preview: Florida State Seminoles Vs. VCU Rams, 9:57 ET Friday

Florida State vs. VCU: it's the only Sweet 16 matchup of double-digit seeds in the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket. It was also one of the most interesting possible games of the 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule, with a beautiful contrast of styles, and it will be worth tuning in to see which one wins out at 9:57 p.m. Eastern from San Antonio on Friday. Marv Albert and Steve Kerr will have the call on TBS.

The knock on Florida State all year has been simple: yes, Leonard Hamilton's defense is superb (tops in defensive efficiency, and allowing opponents to shoot less than 40% on both twos and threes), but can the Seminoles score? They did on Sunday against the middling Notre Dame defense, especially from deep (nine of 19 threes went down), and if they can combine that sort of punch with the chokehold their lanky, athletic half-court defense can create, the 'Noles might well head to Houston for the Final Four. But, uh, don't count on that: casual might be a kind adjective for FSU's ball security, and getting flustered by an ad hoc press from the Fighting Irish bodes ill against the signature VCU press.

Sure, it's going to be young, charismatic coach Shaka Smart that gets the lion's share of the credit for the Rams' March Madness run. But it's also worth noting that VCU hasn't quite had the same blueprint for all three of their wins: the Rams forced 15 turnovers against USC and 17 against Georgetown, but coaxed Purdue into coughing up just seven; the Rams hit 12 threes against Georgetown, but didn't hit 10 in either other game; they only outrebounded USC; they had 26 assists against Purdue, and 25 combined in their first two wins. So, essentially, VCU has a repertoire, an arsenal that makes it very dangerous: Jamie Skeen and Bradford Burgess can hit threes or grab rebounds ... or Joey Rodriguez can dish assists ... or the Rams can pressure a skittish team into a dozen or more turnovers and run in transition. There's a reason Smart's dubbed his system "havoc" — hint: it's the press — but it's doubtful that even he imagined his team could be this versatile and this hot in March.

Star Watch: Bernard James, a 26-year-old junior plucked from junior college after a tour of duty with the Air Force, is FSU's most reliable big man. If VCU can't deal with him, it won't win.

Prediction: Florida State's defense is rock-solid, but the offensive efficiency the Seminoles showed against Notre Dame may have been illusive. Count on VCU running the 'Noles ragged, forcing double-digit turnovers, and advancing to the Elite Eight with a 71-58 win.

More Reading: SB Nation's Tomahawk Nation is the finest Florida State blog on the Internet, while SB Nation DC has plenty more on VCU and the surprising hoops success of Richmond, Virginia.

Need help catching up with all the action? Here's a printable NCAA Tournament bracket and an updated Sweet 16 schedule.

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