NCAA

Cavaliers Report: Two in a row?

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Cavaliers Report: Two in a row?

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 1-2, (0-0) in the ACC

In the news

Tough T.J.: Wide receiver T.J. Thorpe was a surprise addition to the Cavaliers lineup on Saturday against WIllim & Mary. Thorpe, a transfer from the University of North Carolina, suffered a broken collarbone in preseason camp but his return Saturday comes just five weeks after he sustained the injury.

Thorpe had no catches on Saturday, but the fact that he got reps is important. The fifth-year senior has breakaway speed that can make him a dangerous deep threat for the Cavs. Most importantly, he should be able to take some defensive attention away from Canaan Severin who is quickly establishing himself as one of the ACC's top offensive weapons.

A record day for Lambert: Georgia quarterback Greyson Lambert set the NCAA record for completion percentage in a single game on Saturday in the Bulldogs' win over South Carolina. He completed 24 of 25 passes for a completion percentage of 96 percent.

Lambert, of course, was Virginia's starting quarterback last season who transferred after losing the starting job to Matt Johns in spring practice.

What does this say about Virginia? Nothing we didn't already know. Lambert was able to set this record because he has more talent around him in Athens than he had in Charlottesville and because Georgia's rush attack, led by Nick Chubb, allows more room for the pass attack.

Lambert is still just as inconsistent as he was at UVa. The week before this performance, he completed only 11 of 21 passes for 116 yards against Vanderbilt. The talent around Lambert just allows for higher highs when he plays well. Many will take it as an indictment of Mike London and his staff and if you want to argue that the coaches did not put Lambert into a position to succeed, there's an argument to be made there, but in my opinion it says far more about the talent level of both teams than it does about the coaching.

RELATED: Towson remembers a fallen hero

Tough schedule: Have you noticed how difficult Virginia's schedule is this season? It's not just this season, as David Teel of the Daily Press notes. For the last four seasons, no team in the ACC, Big Ten or SEC has played as as many non-conference games against AP top 25 opponents from 2012 to 2015 as Virginia.

This kind of scheduling provides fans with intriguing, interesting games which is more than you can say for a program like Baylor who seemingly goes out of their way to schedule only cupcakes. For a team that hasn't made a bowl game since the 2011 season, however, the difficult scheduling has clearly taken its toll on Virginia.

If Virginia loses to Boise State on Friday, they will enter conference play at 1-3 which would require them to win five ACC games in order to reach the six wins required for a bowl game. While no one wants to see four patsies to start the season, it would be fair to say a bowl game would mean more for UVa than a regular season trip to UCLA did.

The best scheduling model is likely somewhere in between the Baylor model and what we see from Virginia.

Last week's game: 35-29 win over William & Mary

See the 5 takeaways from this game here.

Virginia finally earned their first win of the season, but William & Mary certainly did not make things easy. The Tribe jumped out to a 17-7 lead in the 2nd quarter and just when it looked like the Cavaliers had pulled away with a 15-point lead in the 3rd, W&M pulled to within 6 and had the ball with a chance to take the lead late in the 4th.

Neither the offense nor the defense played as well for Virginia as they did the week before against Notre Dame, but facing an FCS opponent in between a matchup with the Irish and Boise State is a clear trap game. No need to react too much to anything that happened here.

The important thing is that Virginia got the win.

Next game vs. Boise State, Fri. 8:00 p.m. ET

Preview

Virginia will host the Boise State Broncos on Friday night for the first-ever matchup between the two schools.

Despite the program's struggles over the past few years, Virginia has managed notable September wins in each of the past three seasons with Penn State in 2012, BYU in 2013 and Louisville in 2014. This represents UVa's last, and best chance at continuing that trend this season.

The problem is Boise State is not your typical big-name program.

The Broncos have made a living on beating Power 5 teams and this year is no different as they defeated Washington to start the season. They are also one miraculous Hail Mary away from coming into this game 3-0 and ranked. This is not a team that is going to be caught by surprise or will look past a team like Virginia.

Having said that, Boise State comes into Charlottesville without their starting quarterback, Ryan Finley, who suffered a broken ankle in last week's win over Idaho State. Head coach Bryan Harsin said he expects both backup quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Thomas Stuart to play, but has not named a starter leaving Virginia to prepare for two very different players.

Stuart, a redshirt sophomore, came on in relief of Finley last week, completing 9 of 13 passes for 69 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 46 yards. He is considered a dual-threat quarterback. Rypien is a true freshman and more of a pocket passer. He also played last week when the game was well in hand, completing 8 of 9 passes for 126 yards with the one incompletion coming off a broken play in which he threw the ball away.

Preparing for two quarterbacks with two different styles will be a challenge for a Virginia defense that has allowed an average of 444.7 yards per game in the early season and is one of only two FBS teams without a takeaway this season. And of course, let's not write off a true freshman quarterback considering what Josh Rosen of UCLA was able to do in the season opener.

While Boise has a big question mark on offense, they don't defensively and have looked very stout in the early season. The Broncos are allowing only 16 points and 286 yards per game. This unit is the definite strength of the team and the real key to the game for the Cavaliers regardless of who plays quarterback for the Broncos.

The Cavaliers are going to struggle to run the ball as effectively as Steve Fairchild likes. Virginia will need an offensive game plan similar to the one they utilized against Notre Dame if they hope to win this. The good news is that Thorpe's return gives Virginia that extra weapon they will need to have a chance against a defense as strong as Boise State's.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Navy runs through East Carolina 45-21

Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

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USA Today Sports

Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

A bombshell article published Friday morning by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports details potential NCAA violations involving more than 20 schools and 25 players.

Several of the biggest names and programs in college basketball were referenced in the Yahoo! report, including former Maryland Terrapin, Diamond Stone.

According to documents and bank records that are part of an FBI investigation, Stone received $14,303 while a freshman at Maryland, a clear violation of NCAA rules. 

Former NBA agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports was the primary handler dishing out incentives, which included cash advances, entertainment expenses and travel expenses for high school and college prospects.

Other players referenced in the documents include Dennis Smith who played at North Carolina State, Isaiah Whitehead from Seton Hall, DeMatha star Markelle Fultz who played at Washington and Edrice "Bam" Adebayo who went on to play at Kentucky. 

Player's and their families from Duke, Michigan State, USC, North Carolina, Texas and Alabama were also included.

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season before declaring for the 2016 NBA Draft. He was selected 40th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans and traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon postponed Friday morning's media availability, but he did release the following statement through the school.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone did end up signing with a different agency.

While this is still under investigation, large consequences for the NCAA can be expected.

The NCAA also released a statement following the news. 

These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.

2018 Bubble Watch: Teams are lining up on the edge of the bubble

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2018 Bubble Watch: Teams are lining up on the edge of the bubble

The 2018 bubble watch has been relatively subdued with the plethora of upsets throughout the latter half of the college basketball season. At the same time, teams that are providing these upsets have slowly worked themselves from being a question mark at the bubble to now solidly in the tournament (ie. Virginia Tech).

Of the major conferences, the Big Ten is up in the air on how the end of February/ beginning of March will play out. Remember, to host their tournament in Madison Square Garden, the conference elected to move it a week earlier than the rest of the power leagues. Will it affect how many teams they have in the big dance? Right now they have four teams in but two more are hovering at the bubble.

READ MORE: BRACKETOLOGY ROUND-UP, RIGHT NOW SYRACUSE IS IN

Aside from the Big Ten, several other teams are striding the line. Many of which have done so all season long. 

Of the teams listed, they are battling for roughly 10 spots in the field of 68.

All rankings and records are as of Thursday, Feb. 22 at 12:00 pm

Oklahoma (16-11, 6-9 Big 12)
RPI: 32     BPI: 43      KenPom: 43    SOS: 12
Could Trae Young’s Oklahoma actually miss the NCAA Tournament? Yes. The Sooners have dropped six straight games and nine of their last 11. Yes, they have racked up the most high-quality wins in the country, but they are in a tailspin. They have beaten Kansas, TCU twice, Texas Tech, and Wichita State, but some of their losses are bad and they are piling up. Of their final three regular season games, two are against bubble teams that are desperate for a respectable win. If they lose out and then don’t make it past the first round of the Big 12 tournament, they are 16-15 (6-12).

St. Mary’s (CA) (25-4, 14-2 WCC)
RPI: 29     BPI: 20      KenPom: 22     SOS: 137
Early season losses to Georgia and Washington State are not as okay as they appeared back in non-conference play. Added to it was their surprising loss to San Francisco has now put the Gaels falling down the slide. Its hard to imagine though a 25-4 team not making the tournament.

Kansas State (20-8, 9-6 Big 12)
RPI: 55      BPI: 47     KenPom: 46     SOS: 73
The Kansas State Wildcats are your typical bubble team. They have beaten everyone in the Big 12 aside from the ranked teams.  They have some good wins but lack a high quality or ‘Quadrant 1’ victory. Their win over Texas on Feb. 21 give them a head-to-head over another team attempting to steal a bubble spot.

Providence (17-11, 8-7 Big East)
RPI: 37     BPI: 72      KenPom: 69     SOS: 20
Being in the Big East will always give a team a strong SOS, but the Providence Friars have lost to teams they should not have. While they have impressive wins over Xavier and Villanova at home, they have a DePaul loss at home that counters one of those wins. Their looming contest against Xavier has now developed into a must-win on Feb. 28.

NC State (19-9, 9-6 ACC)
RPI: 57     BPI: 51      KenPom: 50     SOS: 61
A team that has benefited from a strong conference has been the Wolfpack from NC State. Out of the ACC, NC State had a horrid schedule and even dropped games against Northern Iowa and UNC Greensboro.  However, they have made up for that with some of the most impressive wins in the ACC. They beat Duke, Clemson, and North Carolina on the road to climb back to the bubble watch.

Baylor (17-11, 7-8 Big 12)
RPI: 59     BPI: 37      KenPom: 36     SOS: 23
Beating Kansas and Texas Tech at home are really the only reasons the Baylor Bears are in consideration at the bubble. But, they are in the deepest conference in college basketball this season, which gives them a ton of decent wins that they can add to their resume. The Bears realistically have to win out to get into the dance.

St. Bonaventure (21-6, 11-4 A10)
RPI: 25     BPI:  58     KenPom: 68     SOS: 91
As a borderline bubble team, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have followed that with a nine-game winning streak and a crucial victory over Rhode Island. As long as the Bonnies take care of their own business and make no worse than the semis in the A10 Tournament, they should be good. Guards Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley are overdue for a tournament berth.

READ ALSO: AP POLL SHAKES UP THE TOP 10

Syracuse (18-10, 7-8 ACC)
RPI: 46     BPI: 52      KenPom: 51     SOS: 22
A month and a half ago, the Syracuse Orange had no business being in the bubble conversation. Still, their four best wins are over Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and then Buffalo. They have some work to do in their final three weeks.

Louisville (18-10, 8-7 ACC)
RPI: 52     BPI: 35      KenPom: 37     SOS: 29
The Louisville Cardinals are in a worse spot than Syracuse, they only have one would be ‘Quadrant 1’ win at Florida State from nearly two months ago. With all the drama surrounding this program through the entire 2017-18 season, you have to give it to David Padgett for keeping them in the race.

USC (20-9, 11-5 Pac-12)
RPI: 36     BPI: 50      KenPom: 52     SOS: 49
The Pac-12 could be in extreme trouble. If USC does not make the push into the NCAA Tournament, there will only be two teams from that conference dancing. With an interesting resume, there is not much that jumps off the Trojans record. Then again, there isn’t much that takes away from it either.

UCLA (19-8, 10-5 Pac-12)
RPI: 47     BPI: 60      KenPom: 54     SOS: 66
Their win over Arizona solidified their claim to the bubble. Win-out situation upcoming for the Bruins who have been hurt by a weak Pac-12.

Texas (16-12, 6-9 Big 12)
RPI: 54     BPI:  39     KenPom: 41     SOS: 16
The Longhorns have such a good schedule. They’ve played all of their games close, but few close games against high-quality teams have translated to wins.

Marquette (16-11, 7-8 Big East)
RPI: 58     BPI: 45      KenPom: 48     SOS: 18
The Golden Eagles were sitting pretty until a four-game losing streak and a loss to St. John’s took them out of the conference race. Not much room for error with Marquette as they move closer to Selection Sunday.

Nebraska (21-9, 12-5 Big Ten)
RPI: 60     BPI: 61      KenPom: 57     SOS: 101
A win against Michigan and a six-game winning streak in the Big Ten has the Cornhuskers alive despite a sub-.500 SOS. They still need a Big Ten tournament upset to get in.

Washington  (18-9, 8-6 Pac-12)
RPI: 48     BPI: 109   KenPom: 95     SOS: 37
The only reason the Washington Huskies are in this conversation is because they beat Arizona and Arizona State back-to-back.

Utah (17-9. 9-6 Pac-12)
RPI: 49     BPI: 70      KenPom: 60     SOS: 65
Another bubble team that hasn’t done much. They’ve won the games they should have and only have snagged an upset on Arizona State.

Other teams:

Florida (17-11, 8-7 SEC)
RPI: 64     BPI: 34      KenPom: 29     SOS: 39

Georgia (15-12, 6-9 SEC)
RPI: 70     BPI: 84      KenPom: 71     SOS: 48

LSU (16-11, 7-8 SEC)
RPI: 74     BPI: 64      KenPom: 63     SOS: 47

Temple (15-12, 7-8 AAC)
RPI: 44     BPI: 83      KenPom: 85     SOS: 9

 

Games to Watch This Week:

UCLA at Utah 2/22 – 9:00 pm (ESPN)

Baylor at TCU 2/24 – 12:00 pm (ESPN2)

LSU at Georgia 2/24 – 2:00 pm (ESPNU)

Louisville at Virginia Tech 2/24 pm – 1:00 pm (CBS)

Syracuse at Duke 2/24 – 6:00 pm (ESPN)

Kansas State at Oklahoma 2/24 – 6:00 pm (ESPN2)

No. 12 Auburn vs. Florida 2/24 – 8:30 pm (SECN)

Penn State at Nebraska 2/25 – 5:15 pm (BTN)

NC State at Florida State 2/25 – 6:00 pm (ESPNU)

Oklahoma at Baylor 2/27 – 9:00 pm (ESPN2)

Davidson at St. Bonaventure 2/27 – 9:00 pm (CBSSN)

Providence at No. 4 Xavier 2/28 – 6:30 pm (FS1)