Coach Shaka Smart and VCU have used the same defensive pressure that got the Rams to the Final Four to break into the Top 25.
The No. 22 Rams, ranked for the first time since 1984-85, take an 11-game winning streak into Thursday night's game against St. Joseph's.
The Hawks (9-5, 1-1) were the preseason favorites in the Atlantic 10, but VCU (14-3, 2-0) is on a roll. Nine of VCU's 11 victories during the streak have come by double digits.
With their constant defensive pressure, the Rams lead all Division 1 men's teams in steals, averaging 13.2 per game. Sophomore Briante Weber leads the nation with 3.59 per game; senior Darius Theus is 10th, averaging 2.69.
Senior Troy Daniels in No. 1 in 3-pointers made per game, averaging 4.12.