VCU's a trendy upset pick

March, 18, 2009
PHILADELPHIA -- No. 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth is the hot upset pick in this bracket, with people lining up behind the team that ousted Duke in the first round two years ago.

First among them: the First Fan.

Barack Obama chose VCU in an upset in the bracket he did with's Andy Katz on Tuesday, a choice that didn't escape either team.

"That's because we beat Oregon State twice," UCLA freshman Jrue Holiday said, referring to the team coached by Obama's brother-in-law, Craig Robinson.

"Yeah, I saw that," Larry Sanders said. "It was pretty neat. You can't get caught up in it, but it's nice to enjoy it."

VCU has a few things in its favor. For starters, UCLA had to hop a cross-country flight to get to Philadelphia, while the Rams had a manageable 6-hour bus ride.

Meanwhile, Eric Maynor is coming off a dominant run through the CAA tournament, in which he averaged 22 points over three games.

On the flip side, Darren Collison is ailing.

Jerry Seinfeld would feel right at home here at the Wachovia Center. While Greensboro is preoccupied with toes, here everyone is all about the backside.

The euphemism being employed for Collison's injury locale is "back," but it's really his tailbone that's ailing. Collison fell hard during UCLA's win over Oregon last week, and admitted the injury hampered him in UCLA's loss to USC in the Pac-10 tournament. Collison played 30 minutes but shot just 1-of-9, including 0-for-5 from the arc. Worse, Collison admitted afterward that the bruise especially bothered him on defense.

"It's a feeling a lot better than it was prior to the USC game," Collison said. "Not really 100 percent, but getting close today."

It all adds up to a recipe for an upset, something even UCLA coach Ben Howland acknowledges.

"Their history suggests that they can pull an upset," Howland said. "In the same exact situation, it was 11-6 when they beat Duke a couple years ago. But obviously we want to win the game. So we understand that we have to play very, very good basketball to be successful against VCU."

Dana O'Neil | email

College Basketball



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