Hundreds of VCU fans send team off at Siegel Center

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The VCU Rams are now headed to Portland, Oregon to kick off the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tuesday a big crowd gathered at the Siegel Center to cheer on the Rams as they hit the road.

VCU students may be on spring break right now but that didn't stop many of them from coming down to the Siegel Center to send the Rams off in style. The memory of VCU's run to the Final Four last year is still fresh in everyone's minds. Fans are hoping for a repeat run.

The Rams' trek to Portland started Tuesday afternoon through a sea of several hundred fans decked out in their VCU black and gold. Larry Rohr has been a VCU fan for forty years. He was first in line to wish the team good luck as they hit the road.

"I brought my chair and everything, a book to read. We're ready. Been here an hour," Rohr said.

There were lots of fans decked out in their Final Four shirts from last year. The Rams are underdogs again this year - but these fans remember Cinderella's slipper can fit any team during the big dance.

"The excitement has been there all year long because we had such a good year last year. Everybody is hoping with their fingers crossed we're going to have another run and you never know. It's the NCAA. You never know what's going to happen," said Rohr.

The crowd erupted as Shaka Smart and the VCU players made their way from the Siegel Center to the buses ready to take them to the airport.

Tuesday's crowd may have been smaller than some of the rallies last year but most VCU students are away for spring break. Still some of the students who were able to make it say they're hoping some good vibes today can help the Rams repeat their historic run.

"They're very powerful this year. They've got all the fans back again so I think it's very possible," one fan said.

Some even have high hopes for a longer run this year.

"It just feels like a once in a lifetime thing and now it's twice that we're going and if we make it to the Final Four again, awesome. We're going to go to the National Championship," VCU fan Jonathan Walker said.

The Rams will face fifth seeded Wichita State on Thursday. VCU is the underdog but there are already National College Basketball analysts predicting VCU will pull off the upset. 

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