by Matt Lincoln
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If the tournament at the end of the season is called the Big Dance, you could call the NIT Season Tipoff the Big Chance. It's a chance to play some of the top teams in the country. It's a chance to earn nationwide respect for your program. It's a chance to play in the world's most famous arena.
VCU played underneath the big lights Wednesday, but they could not come up with a victory over 24th ranked Tennessee. The Rams fell to the Volunteers 77-72 in the semifinals of the NIT in New York city.
Scotty Hopson had 18 points and Tobias Harris added 15 points for Tennessee (4-0), which was playing its first game since Pearl was punished by SEC commissioner Mike Slive last week for violating NCAA rules and misleading investigators.
The Volunteers will play No. 7 Villanova for the championship Friday night. VCU will play in the consolation game against UCLA.
Brandon Rozzell hit six 3-pointers in the second half, after missing all four attempts in the first half, and finished with 23 points to lead VCU (3-1). Ed Nixon added 16 points and Jamie Skeen finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.