VCU is moving on.The Richmond program will leave the Colonial Athletic Conference and join the Atlantic 10 in 2013, according to CBSSports. If official, the Rams would join Butler as a new conference member. Thetwo schools played in a combined three Final Four appearances in the past three seasons. The additions would also offset the loss of Temple to the Big East and Charlotte to Conference USA while boosting the conference's status to the king of the so-called mid-majors.The VCU news comes days after George Mason announced last week that after kicking some Atlantic 10 tires, it was staying put in the CAA. Perhaps, according to the CBSSports report,the Patriots were simply not invited."On Friday, George Mason, which along with VCU and Butler had discussions with the Atlantic 10, announced it was staying in the CAA. However, sources told CBSSports.com at the present time the Atlantic 10 was looking to add only one more school and VCU got the nod over Mason."Though VCU has managed to land a spot in recentNCAA tournaments as a member of the CAA, the league is not always a lock for an at-large bid. CBSSports notes that since 2000, the CAA has received only four at-large NCAA bids. This season the Rams, winners of theCAATournament and thus the automatic bid,were the only CAA school in the field of 68. Meanwhile, the Atlantic 10 has received multiple bids in five consecutive seasons. Financially, that adds up."Since 2006 even with George Mason and VCU reaching two Final Fours the CAA only accrued 24 NCAA tournament units (awarded for every round advanced in the NCAA), compared to 36 for the Atlantic 10. Each unit is worth about 250,000."If the reports prove accurate, it would only be the latest, though most significant blow to the CAA, which has already lost Georgia State to the Sun Belt this offseason. Reports suggest Old Dominion could be next.The Norfolk schoolis considering a move to Conference USA with a decision expected later this summer.From the George Mason perspective, the glass half-full argument is without VCU (and perhaps ODU), its path to that automatic bid becomes easier, perhaps dramatically so. Of course, without one or both of those programs, the CAA loses much of its appeal - and RPI status. Without those programs, the Patriots lose two of their main rivals. While VCU starts checking out its new neighborhood, George Mason might need to reassess its current location. Maybe that involves helping the CAA find new blood or finding its own landing spot, though the BCS conferences are out and anything scenario outside the Atlantic 10 seems like a downgrade. In other words, the Patriotsshould make sure their LinkedIn and Evite accounts are active.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Justin Jackson scored 20 points to help No. 10 North Carolina beat No. 14 Virginia 65-41 on Saturday night, keeping the Tar Heels alone in first in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Kennedy Meeks had all of his 13 points and seven rebounds after halftime for the Tar Heels (23-5, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). They shot 47 percent and led by double figures nearly all night against the ice-cold Cavaliers.
UNC led 34-22 at halftime, never let Virginia closer than nine then ran off 10 straight points to take a 25-point lead and send the Cavaliers to their first three-game skid in a single season in six years.
Marial Shayok scored 13 points to lead Virginia (18-8, 8-6), who went 10 minutes without a basket at one point during the second half and missed its first 17 3-pointers for the game as the Tar Heels turned it into a rout.
Virginia shot 28 percent for the game and finished at 2 for 20 from 3-point range to go with a season-low point output, with every missed shot becoming magnified as the Tar Heels stayed in attack mode.
It was also was the second-lowest point total by an opponent in UNC's Smith Center, just a basket better than Clemson's 39 points here in 1995.
UNC finished with a 44-26 rebounding advantage, with much of that edge coming after halftime behind Meeks.
Virginia: The Cavaliers offered up a worst-case scenario Saturday night. If Virginia's defense can't rattle an opponent, the Cavaliers' limited offensive punch gives them little margin for error.
UNC: This was one of several tough games for UNC coming down the regular-season stretch. Winning this rematch of last year's ACC Tournament championship game by a lopsided margin has to be a boost to an already confident team.
Virginia: The Cavaliers return home Monday night to host Miami.
UNC: The Tar Heels have another big home game, hosting No. 8 Louisville on Wednesday night.
BY TYLER BYRUM
FAIRFAX, VA – Coming down the final seconds of the game, Rhode Island was able to hold off a resilient George Mason squad after blowing an 18-point lead in the second half to win, 77-74.
Stanford Robinson scored a team-high 21 points off the bench in a homecoming affair for the Paul VI Catholic High School graduate. From behind the arc, Robinson was a perfect 3-for-3 and brought down two huge offensive rebounds late in the contest.
In the final minute though, it was Robinson who gave the Patriots hope as he missed two free throws with less than two seconds left in the game.
Grabbing his fifth rebound of the contest to go along with 22 points, Jalen Jenkins threw up a full-court heave that was just a foot wide of the basket.
From the onset, Rhode Island (17-9, 9-5) had the size advantage but was going against the NCAA’s best rebounding guard, Marquise Moore. Bringing down 31 rebounds, 14 being offensive, the Rams scored 13 pivotal second chance points. Moore, though, would manage to record his 17th double-double of the season (19 points, 10 rebounds).
This was Moore's fourth straight double-double, which is helping his case as one of the favorites for the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.
E.C. Matthews was another one of the Rams to rack up the points in EagleBank Arena. With 18 points on 15 shots, Matthews kept the Rams alive after the team allowed the Patriots to go on a 21-3 run.
The Rams consistently shot over the Patriots with five players recording a three-point basket. In the first half, the team shot 54 percent from behind the arc and had rolled to a 39-26 lead at the break.
George Mason (18-9, 8-6) was able to climb back after an insurmountable 18-point deficit minutes into the second half. Highlighting the scoring run, Otis Livingston II (nine points and seven rebounds) was able to hit a fadaway to bring Mason within four and the crowd to their feet.
Throughout the contest, the Patriots drew 23 fouls and made 31 of their 36 free throw attempts. This kept numerous Rams in foul trouble and forced Dan Hurley to go deep into his bench and use 11 players.
“That was one that we needed desperately,” Hurley said “We’ve done a lot of soul searching; we’ve also dealt with a lot this year.”
The victory gives Rhode Island a much-needed win after falling to Fordham 53-43 earlier in the week. Moving up to third place in the Atlantic 10, the Rams now use the momentum from this game in order to climb back in the NCAA tournament bubble.
Falling in this game, George Mason now is on the outside looking in for one of the conference’s coveted double-byes in the conference tournament.