ESPN's Dick Vitale repairs relationship with VCU and Richmond

HOUSTON, TX (WWBT) - He became the symbol of the national bias toward VCU. His unbridled rant against the NCAA selection committee for picking the Rams became a rallying cry for the team and the city.

On Friday, Dick Vitale made things right with VCU and helped out a good cause at the same time.

The city of Richmond was not going to let Dick Vitale get away with the things he said about their team. The ESPN analyst officially jumped on the VCU bandwagon, without actually eating any crow.

It was the most visible symbol of a city's disgust. A 30 by 20 foot banner telling Vitale to "eat crow". At the time Vitale was enemy number one in Richmond.

But things have changed. On Friday, Vitale found himself with VCU president Michael Roa, where he explained his stance from four weeks ago.

"Let's face it the numbers were against you," Vitale said. "We didn't even have them on the bubble."

But now those pre- tournament numbers don't mean anything. Vitale believes that what VCU and Coach Shaka Smart have accomplished is incredible. It's something he may have had a little bit to do with.

"I told him (Smart) I got to get some of that cash you are getting from those bonuses, I motivated your team! You told me you played all my comments to your club," Vitale said in his trademark excitable fashion.

That motivation led Vitale to admit, VCU has defied the odds. So he walked up to that massive banner designed to make fun of him and signed it. The banner will be auctioned off, the money going to cancer research.

"We are going to try and raise a million dollars for pediatric cancer this year," he said. "Hopefully we can get some money off this banner to fight pediatric cancer."

And as for the Rams?

"I picked VCU, I think it's going to be a real battle, but I don't think Joey Rodriguez is going to let them lose, I look for them to march on and play in the national championship."

Perhaps that prediction should worry VCU fans. He was so wrong prior to the tournament. We will have to see if his support turns out to be a good thing tomorrow evening.

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