RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - VCU men's basketball will open up the Battle 4 Atlantis with Memphis, the Rams learned with the release of the bracket and opening round match-ups for the Thanksgiving tournament on Thursday. VCU will battle a highly-touted Tigers squad in the opener on November at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Network.
The first-round meeting will be the sixth all-time between the two schools with the Tigers taking the four of the first five showdowns. It will be the first game between the two since 1992, when Memphis defeated the Black & Gold 85-58.
VCU and Memphis are two of just four schools in the country to post at least 24 wins in each of the past six seasons, joined by Kansas and BYU.
Led by Josh Pastner, the Tigers return three of their top four scorers from a squad that went 26-9 last year and reached the NCAA Tournament, but dropped a 61-54 decision to Saint Louis in the Round of 64.
With the strong backcourt of Joe Jackson (11.0 ppg, 3.9 apg) and Chris Crawford (9.1 ppg, 3.8 apg), in addition to the interior presence of Tarik Black (10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), Memphis has been picked by many national media as a preseason top-25 team entering the 2012-13 season.
If so, it would be the sixth year in a row that the Rams have faced off against a top-25 team during the regular season.
The three other opening round games include Missouri vs. Stanford, Duke vs. Minnesota and Louisville vs. Northern Iowa.
The eight teams in the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis field combined have more than 160 NCAA postseason appearances. The Bahamas event tips off on November 22.