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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – VCU has claimed a spot in the Preseason USA Today Coaches poll, earning the No. 15 spot, the first time in school history the Rams begin a season ranked. 

Two other Atlantic 10 teams, Saint Louis and La Salle, both of whom played in the NCAA Tournament last season also received poll votes.

With three of its top four scorers returning from last year’s squad that went 27-9 and reached the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 for the third straight season, the VCU men’s basketball team entered preseason practice with high expectations.

“We’ve always had high expectations within our program and we want to be at a place that there is high expectations for us and that’s the way VCU is,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “I think it says a lot about our returning players, but it really doesn’t change much in terms of our approach. The bottom line is that everyone starts the year 0-0.”

VCU’s earliest top-25 ranking prior to this year came in 1983-84 when the Rams were slotted #20 in the second poll of the season. VCU finished last year ranked No. 23, marking the second time in the past three seasons that the Rams have finished the season in the Top-25. Saint Louis finished at No. 16 in the final 2012-13 Coaches' Poll while La Salle was just behind VCU at No. 24. 

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