NCAA

Cavaliers Report: Avoiding costly mistakes

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Cavaliers Report: Avoiding costly mistakes

Check back every Wednesday for the Cavaliers Report to get all the biggest Virginia headlines for each week, a recap of last week's game and a look ahead at next week's contest.

Virginia 3-7, (2-4) in the ACC

In the news

Severin earns ACC honor: Senior wide receiver Canaan Severin was named the ACC Receiver of the Week for his performance against Louisville. Severin established himself as a top offensive threat for the Cavaliers with an incredible 11-catch, 153-yard game against Notre Dame, but had not lived up to that performance again until Saturday. Against Louisville, Severin hauled in eight catches for 116 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

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Last week's game: 38-31 loss at Louisville

Read the recap of this game here.

Virginia found themselves in a close battle with Louisville and just as they managed to swing the momentum in their favor, a critical muffed punt by Olamide Zaccheaus in the fourth quarter with the score tied proved the turning point of the game. Louisville recovered the punt and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to T.J. Thorpe gave the Cardinals the ball on Virginia's two-yard line. Two plays later, Louisville scored a touchdown.

The loss was Virginia's seventh of the season which knocks them out of bowl contention.

It was yet another game in which Virginia shot themselves in the foot. In addition to the muffed punt, Virginia also committed eight penalties for 69 yards. With Matt Johns throwing for four touchdowns and no interceptions and Severin having a career da, the team played well enough to win. Bad teams find ways to lose, however, and there's no more denying it, this year's Cavaliers are a bad team.

This week: Virginia vs. Duke, Sat. 3:30 p.m.

Preview

Duke will look for their seventh win in eight meetings against Virginia as they head to Charlottesville on Saturday. After starting 6-1, the Blue Devils have lost three-straight and things seem to be headed in the wrong direction in Durham.

The big news surrounding this game came out on Tuesday when it was announced Duke had dismissed receivers Terrence Alls and Johnell Barnes and linebacker Chris Holmes from the program. No specific reason was given for their dismissal. Barnes ranks second on the team with 34 catches and 411 receiving yards so his loss is a significant one for the Blue Devils.

You've heard of Christian McCaffrey, but Duke has a McCaffrey of their own: Max. With the loss of Barnes, Max McCaffrey will be critical for Duke's pass attack. Duke will also lean on quarterback Thomas Sirk who leads the team in both passing and rushing. He is not a star passer or runner, but he is abilities as a dual threat will make him a headache for the defense.

Running back Taquan Mizzell had only 40 rushing yards last week and he may struggle to get going again because of Duke safety Jeremy Cash. He is one of the best safeties in the country and, though he is a defensive back, where he does the most damage is against the rush. Cash is not only tied for the team lead in tackles with 88, he also leads the team with a ridiculous 17.5 tackles for loss.

Expect Cash and Mizzell to get well acquainted in this game.

Duke has not recovered from the inexplicable loss to Miami and they are committing more penalties and turnovers than you would expect from a David Cutcliffe team. A Duke squad known for not beating itself, however, will enjoy a matchup against a Virginia team known for doing the exact opposite. Can UVa finally avoid committing that costly penalty/turnover that costs them the game?

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

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Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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USA TODAY Sports

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

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Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."