VCU Rams coach Shaka Smart talks about Portland, Wichita State and Nike shoes

Posted at 4:05 PM, Mar 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-14 16:16:11-04

PORTLAND, Oregon (WTVR) - VCU Rams head basketball coach Shaka Smart told CBS 6 sports director Lane Casadonte he is not upset the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee sent the Rams out west, 2,800 miles away from campus, to Portland, Oregon.

"It's the NCAA Tournament," Smart said in a Wednesday afternoon interview. "You got to be ready to go where ever they send you. We're just excited to be playing and have the opportunity to advance."

Smart and the Rams arrived in Portland Tuesday afternoon. The Rams don't play until Thursday evening. Smart said arriving early allowed his players to adjust to the time change.

"It's three hours different, but we came out here a couple of days early so you get a chance to adapt and prepare," he said.

The Rams will play Wichita State University on Thursday. The game can be seen on CBS 6 at 7:15 p.m. The Rams and Shockers played each other last year. The Rams won by a single point [Click here]. Coach Smart doesn't think last year's win will help the Rams Thursday night.

"I think the advantage is really none because both team played each other last year, so they have a familiarity with us, we have a familiarity with them, he said. "Once the ball goes up it's this year's VCU team against this year's Wichita State team. It will be a great game."

Tuesday night some of the Rams left the team hotel to explore Portland. The place they chose to go surprised their head coach.

"They want to Niketown and spent some time there. I think a few of the guys got some shoes. That is funny to me because we give them so many Nike shoes," laughed Smart.

Watch Lane's live reports today on CBS 6 News at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.