VCU takes on U.Va. Saturday at Siegel Center

Fred Jeter | 12/5/2014, 5:55 a.m.
Virginia Commonwealth University basketball has lost its national ranking.

Virginia Commonwealth University basketball has lost its national ranking.

But so far, at least, the Rams are still clinging to another claim to fame, its prized home floor advantage.

The Rams will need all the support they can muster Saturday, Dec. 6, when No. 7-ranked University of Virginia visits the Siegel Center. ESPNU will televise the game, beginning with the 2 p.m. tipoff.

Based on ticket demand, it may be the most popular regular season game VCU has ever hosted. StubHub re-sale tickets were going early in the week for $158 for standing room and about $199 for corner end zone seats.

Coach Shaka Smart’s Rams, now 4-2, were ranked No. 15 nationally by the Associated Press before losses to Villanova and Old Dominion University.

U.Va. is 7-0 and seeking payback for a 59-56 loss to VCU in November 2013 at John Paul Jones Arena when Treveon Graham swished a 3-pointer with a few seconds remaining.

Beating VCU at the Siegel Center is among the toughest chores in college hoops. The Rams are 71-7 at home since Coach Smart arrived in 2009.

The Rams were 15-0 at home last year and haven’t lost at the Siegel Center since falling to LaSalle, 69-61, on Jan. 26, 2013.

Graham had 34 points in the Rams’ loss to ODU, and is on pace to pass Eric Maynor as the all-time VCU Rams scorer. He also may have a shot at Len Creech’s career RPI-VCU Rams mark.

So far this season, Graham, the 6-foot-6 senior from Temple Hills, Md., is averaging a team high of 17.5 points per game.

Senior guard Briante Weber, chasing the NCAA career record for steals, averages 9.2 points while leading the squad with 27 assists and 20 steals.

U.Va. is 10-2 all-time against VCU in a rivalry dating to 1976.

Overall, VCU is 27-44 against schools now aligned with the Atlantic Coast Conference. A year ago, VCU beat U.Va., Virginia Tech and Boston College, while losing to Florida State University.

Interest in the Rams has escalated since the team’s NCAA tournament upset of Duke University in 2007 and its exciting Final Four run in 2010.

The U.Va. game will mark the Rams’ 53rd straight sellout.