BROOKLYN, N.Y. - On Thursday night, Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports was asked on Twitter who had more fans in attendance, and he answered "VCU".
That really wasn't all that shocking, the Rams are renowned - at least in recent times - for travelling well - and in their first trip to the Atlantic-10 Tournament, you knew there would be plenty of VCU supporters in the house.
Except that the game going on at the time of Borzello's Tweet was Saint Joseph's against Xavier.
VCU wasn't going to take the court for another 24 hours.
On Friday, it actually started at the end of the first session, some two hours before tip-off, when the fans departing the Barclays Center were greeted with a New York City bus that had "VCU Havoc" on the side and the VCU band regaling the people with their anthem.
If you haven't seen it, please check this out
. And that doesn't begin to do justice to what it sounds like in person.
Of course, no VCU experience is complete without meeting eternal friend of Mid-majority, VCU Pav himself
, who - with horns and cape attached, of course - was just trying to get some water to make it through the contest, except by Barclays Center policy, they needed to take the cap off of the bottled water, which left poor Pav trying to carry three bottled waters back to his section. Hopefully, he succeeded, at least he showed no ill-effects when he appeared at his seat a couple of minutes later.
I stood at tip-off in amazement at the sea of yellow that enveloped one entire site of the arena, even more amazed it was against Saint Joe's, who - as I mentioned in a previous recap - has a loyal following of fans, especially among students. But even though their campus was more than 200 miles closer to New York City than VCU's is, they were hopelessly outnumbered. And out-decibeled. And out-intimidated.
Phil Martelli, as he is prone to do, had one of the lines of the weekend, when he was asked how he was going to prepare his team for VCU Havoc with only 24 hours to prepare.
"I'm going to send them to Times Square and have them run around in traffic for a while and see if they can dodge the cars."
VCU caused three turnovers in the first two minutes and led 8-3 early, but went cold, allowing the Hawks to climb their way back into the game, only to see a late first-half run boost the lead back to double digits. Every time Saint Joe's would get close, the Rams would pull away. Carl Jones - who would finish with 29 points - came out of the locker room firing and the Hawks were able to get within two with a series of #superhoops, but you never really felt like Saint Joe's was in the game.
But Troy Daniels, blanked in the first half, wasn't going to stay down for long, and his three #superhoops
combined with another from freshman Justin Tuoyo had VCU suddenly - and suddenly is how Havoc operates - had a 64-47 lead with eight minutes left.
Of course, Havoc doesn't really have an off button, something that may work to their detriment at some point this month. The Rams continued to take quick shots, a few of them ill-advised, and the Hawks hit #superhoop
and finally got the lead down to three, but ran out of time.
Throughout other games, other bands played the old stand-by "Rock and Roll, Part Two". And they probably had no idea what they were in for. As the song inevitably reached the chorus, no matter who the teams were playing, all you could hear was "duh-duh-da-da-da....V", followed by the same with the C and the U, and then finishing with "Let's. Go. VCU."
All that support doesn't really mean much if you don't have any talent, however, and the Rams obviously do. VCU forced 17 turnovers, meaning the Rams are now a ridiculous 25-0 when forcing 15 or more turnovers.
Slowly but surely, the VCU crowd thinned out, most of them remaining to scout a little of UMass and Temple before departing. Quite simply, they had stolen the show.
It remains to be seen what happens to VCU with all the conference realignment shenanigans that continue to swirl, we know Butler, Xavier, Temple, and Charlotte are all bailing out after this season. And, sadly these days, at least for us, a show like the VCU fans put on this weekend will certainly raise some eyebrows at the headquarters of places like the new Big East.
For now, though, I could just sit back and enjoy, and say thanks. There are certain people, curmudgeons let's call them, who watch a handful of games a season, probably on television, and unilaterally decide that college basketball isn't what it was, the quality is terrible, and - worst of all - it's not worth your time.
I submit to you, Your Honor, that those people have never seen VCU in full display, with the crowd rocking, Havoc in full effect, and everyone on the edge of their seats as the action goes back and forth rapidly and furiously.
Or maybe they just like being bitter and completely out of touch with reality.
Either way, they shouldn't be dragging the good name of Our Game through the mud without even giving us the courtesy of trying it first. After all, if they don't start no stuff, there won't be no stuff.