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2015 NCAA Tournament recap: Ohio State outlasts, upsets VCU Rams in overtime

VCU lost as the better seed for the second year in a row in overtime. Perhaps it is time for a change at VCU...in the system.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So where does VCU go from here? For all that the Rams did right during another loss in the NCAA Tournament, this time to 10-seed Ohio State, there was a lot that didn't go right.

For all the joy that came with seeing Doug Brooks hit four 3-pointers in a row to pull the Rams back into the game, there was the disappointment in seeing Treveon Graham struggle to 3-for-12 and just 10 points.

For every great contribution off the bench from Melvin Johnson, there was the runs of stagnant basketball where VCU couldn't seem to generate any offense.

The spark that drives VCU just wasn't there, as we are used to seeing from these Rams.

Maybe it was having Briante Weber sidelined, and reduced to a coaching role. He wasn't there to generate the offense with steals. VCU forced Ohio State into just 11 turnovers, and had just four steals.

That isn't HAVOC; that isn't even close.

Here was a team that fought tooth and nail to get rebounds against a taller team, and yet couldn't stop some of the easy drives into the hoop.

It is almost like the whole system has to change now. The team that is left once Weber leaves isn't built to run the defense the same way as before. And teams seem to be ready for it.

Since the Final Four run that introduced everyone to the Rams, and HAVOC, and made Shaka Smart the hottest coaching name that no one can seem to land, the Rams have won just two NCAA Tournament games, and one of those was against an Akron team that was missing a couple of very important parts and had the flu.

The last two seasons have seen both games go to overtime, have seen both end in losses, have disappointed fans that had sights on another deep run. At this point Rams fans have to be thinking it would be nice to just see the second weekend.

This is by no means a suggestion the Smart should be gone. That would be silly.

It is more a belief that Smart needs to change. He needs to build something where all of the interior defense doesn't come as a second thought because the team is counting on the backcourt to stop the opponent.

It needs to be something where there is some actually offense to run, more like the win over Dayton, and less like the sprinting, careening Rams that at one time excited the country, but now can't seem to get out of their own way.

It doesn't mean that there can't be elements of the HAVOC system that made them famous. Against Davidson in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the Rams managed to settle into a half court defense and still were able to cause just as much trouble for the Wildcats and generate a ton of offense off of turnovers thanks to good face up defense.

There is enough young talent ready to take over that VCU could make this transition. The system isn't yet baked into them. But the change has to happen now.

In the 75-72 loss to Ohio State, the Rams looked overmatched when the younger Buckeyes took over the game.

The Rams should look to be doing that with their young talent next season, with a new look. Think of it as a challenge to see if Smart can reinvent this team to keep the spotlight on his coaching burning bright.