Getting to the Big Dance was something VCU head coach Mike Rhoades told his father he’d achieve.
Of course, Rhoades is a Mahanoy City native and local standout basketball star. He won a national championship at Lebanon Valley College team in the 1990s. And he’s the son of the late-State Sen. James Rhoades.
The Senator never got to see his son achieve that particular dream, however. Rhoades died unexpectedly in 2008 when he was killed in a car accident.
In an interview with Virginia media Sunday, Rhoades gets emotional talking about that conversation with his father.
“About 20 years ago, my dad and I talked … and I said one day I’m going to coach a Division I team in the NCAA tournament. Today’s the day,” he says, clearly holding back some strong emotions. “To have that memory and then be in that position tonight at VCU, which everyone knows how much I love, it’s a dream come true.
— Sean Robertson (@CBS6SportsSean) March 18, 2019
VCU officially became a bit of a bubble team over the weekend. The Rams lost their first game in the Atlantic 10 tournament. They had to hope they’d secure an At Large bid to the Big Dance. But with 25 wins in the regular season, it’d be hard to keep them out.
The school has developed a solid tournament reputation. That reputation was bolstered during Rhoades’ previous time there as an assistant under Shaka Smart. After leaving for Rice University for a few years, Rhoades returned to VCU as head coach.
VCU First Round Game
The Rams will play in the 8-9 games in the First Round of the tournament. VCU (25-7) will play Central Florida (23-8) in the East bracket. That’ll be a tough matchup for Rhoades’ team. If they can get past UCF, VCU would likely face the tournament’s top seed, Duke.
VCU and UCF will tip off Friday night from Columbia, S.C.
Check out the moment VCU found out it was going dancing:
— VCU Basketball (@VCU_Hoops) March 17, 2019
Here’s a look at the East bracket of the NCAA tournament.
Rhoades certainly won’t be looking past the UCF game on Friday night. But if you’re thinking his Rams get past Duke in the Second Round, you might have a chance to see him live. The Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds of the East are in Washington, DC.