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by: David S. Williams
Stetson Ready For Challenge at VCU Wednesday Night
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  11/28/2012
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RICHMOND, Va. - The Stetson men's basketball team will play its first road game since the season-opener taking on VCU Wednesday night in Richmond.  The Rams (3-3) host the Hatters (2-2) at 7:30 p.m. in the first ever meeting between these two teams.

"It's going to be a real challenge," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said of the game against the Rams.  "Obviously [VCU head coach] Shaka Smart has done a great job with that team. They play hard, they're great defensively, and it's a tough environment, so it will be a fun - fun might not be the right word - it will be a great challenge for our team."

In just three seasons at VCU, Smart has turned the Rams' program into household name, winning the CBI postseason tournament in his first season, making an upset run to the final four in 2010-11, and then returning to the NCAA Tournament's Third Round just a season ago.  VCU has compiled a record of 87-31 under Smart, which includes this year's 3-3 start.

The 2012-13 version of the Rams seems to have the same qualities that has made the program so successful the past few years.  The team's aggressive style of defense allowed VCU to lead the nation in steals per game (10.6) and turnover margin (+6.5) a year ago, and through six games in 2012-13, the Rams are recording steals at 10.8 per contest.

Taking care of the ball was an issue for Stetson last season, but over the first four games of the season that has been anything but an issue for the Hatters.  The team currently holds a 1.58 assist-to-turnover ratio, tallying 74 helpers to just 48 turnovers, which is much improved over last year's mark of 0.84.

Overall, Stetson has shown a number of improvements during the start of the second season under Alexander, which has included the first back-to-back 20-point victories since the year 2000.  The Hatters' only two losses have been single-digit defeats to the ACC's Miami and the Big East's USF.

Fans can listen to Wednesday night's game on the radio at WSBB 1230 AM in New Smyrna, 1490 AM in DeLand, or online at www.myam1230.com.  There will be no audio on GoHatters.com.  VCUAthletics.com's Ram TV will also have a live video stream of the game.  Live Stats, the @StetsonMBB Twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts are also available for in-game updates.



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