Akron-VCU matchup pits coaches who are friends - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Akron-VCU matchup pits coaches who are friends

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Akron coach Keith Dambrot says he loves VCU's Shaka Smart like a brother. He still wants to beat his former assistant.

Dambrot believes an upset is possible if the 12th-seeded Zips can slow down the fifth-seeded Rams on Thursday.

Smart has installed a high-tempo defense and offense that has served his program well. The style of play helped VCU reach the Final Four in 2011 and make a third straight trip this year to the NCAA tournament.

The Rams have their highest seeding since being a No. 2 in 1985. Back then, Smart was 7 and Dambrot was a 26-year-old coach at Tiffin University.

Dambrot became relatively famous for coaching LeBron James in high school and later introduced Smart to the future superstar.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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