Bracket Projection: VCU

Darius Theus' exceptional defensive ability is one reason why VCU is headed back to the Big Dance. Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Commonwealth Rams head into the 2013 NCAA tournament fresh off an impressive first campaign as a member of the Atlantic 10. How much defensive "havoc" does Shaka Smart's team have to create to get back to the Final Four, and what could send them packing?

ESPN Insider has your answers, as Joe Lunardi has enlisted a team of Bracketologists to compile advanced metrics, key scouting intel and best- and worst-case tournament scenarios for all 68 teams, all in order to help you make smart picks in your bracket. Plus, as Lunardi fills out his bracket, he'll give you his prediction on how each team will fare.


Lunardi's Logic

This VCU team is better than its Final Four edition of 2011, but that doesn't mean a repeat of two years ago is in order. The Rams won't sneak up on anyone this time, not after six tournament wins the last two years, but a relatively easy victory over Akron could be followed by a loss to guard-heavy Michigan. The Rams have struggled against guards who do not shrink under pressure.


Best wins: Butler, Memphis, at Xavier

Worst losses: at Richmond, at Saint Louis, at Temple