The NCAA announced the VCU Rams will be facing the defending national champion Duke University Blue Devils in the semi-final round of the 2015 2K Classic. The Rams will travel to New York City to take on Duke at the historic Madison Square Garden on November 20.
ESPN will televise the annual 2K Classic, formerly the Coaches vs Cancer Classic. This tournament has taken place for 18 years, with each year raking in benefits for important causes such as cancer research.
This year, proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). The Wounded Warrior Project is a veteran’s service organization and charity that offers programs and events for wounded veterans of the military actions was created following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
According to the Project’s website, as of June 1, 2015, the Wounded Warrior Project serves 71,866 registered alumni and 11,494 registered members.
The VCU men’s basketball program has positioned themselves over the past decade as one of the premiere programs in the country, consistently reaching the NCAA tournament and even the Final Four. Duke basketball has an illustrious history of being a five-time national championship program, succeeding under the tutelage of Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The two sides have yet to disappoint in the outcomes of previous matches. VCU’s HAVOC style of play has been the kryptonite able to stiffen a heavily offensive Blue Devil team. However, the most recent outing on November of 2012, the Rams were defeated by a score of 67-58.
One of the most memorable moments in VCU basketball history was when the two programs faced each other in 2007, during the first round of NCAA tournament. VCU, being the underdog 11th seed, pulled off the shocking upset against Duke, the 6th seed, 79-77 in a classic battle that ended with a game-winning jumper by VCU alumni Eric Maynor.
The win gave VCU its first tournament win since the Rams defeated Marshall University in the first round of the 1985 NCAA Tournament, while giving Duke its first first-round loss since 1996.
This will be VCU’s first time being a part of this tournament and the second time for Duke. There are two other teams participating in this year’s tournament; Wisconsin and Georgetown University will play the first game on November 20, followed by Duke and VCU.
The championship game will take place two days after: The two winning teams will face off on November 22.