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CSN Spotlight: Diving into conference play

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CSN Spotlight: Diving into conference play

Conference play begins in earnest this Saturday. Catch the great college football action on CSN and CSN Plus.

Pittsburgh (2-1) at Virginia Tech (2-2), Sat. 12:00 p.m. on CSN

There's a bit of a role reversal happening in Blacksburg as it is the defense that enters this game with more question marks for Virginia Tech than the offense.

The injury to Kendall Fuller unfortunately robs fans of the blockbuster Fuller - Tyler Boyd matchup this game originally offered. Still, you can expect defensive coordinator Bud Foster to whip up a game plan to slow down Pittsburgh's stellar wide receiver. Boyd will feature prominently in this game as will backup quarterback Chad Voytik.

Though Nathan Peterman has supplanted Voytik as the team's starter, Voytik was a major factor in Pitt's win over the Hokies last season with 118 yards on the grond. Given that Virginia Tech just got torched by another mobile quarterback last week -- ECU's James Summers ran for 169 yards and scored three total touchdowns -- it should comes as no surprise that Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi told reporters he has a package for Voytik in this game.

The return of linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka should help Virginia Tech slow down Voytik, but they will need to solve the mobile quarterback riddle to win this one.

For more on this game and more Virginia Tech news, read the Hokies Report here. 

Stony Brook (2-1) at James Madison (4-0), Sat. 12:00 p.m. on CSN Plus

James Madison will have to find a way to put their big win over SMU behind them as they host Stony Brook for a big conference matchup.

The Dukes are undefeated, but with a brutal stretch against William & Mary, Delaware and Villanova to close out the season, JMU cannot afford to overlook anyone on their schedule.

Vad Lee is running a dominant offense that has scored at least 42 points in all four of their games this season. Now he will take on a Stony Brook defense that was gashed for 466 yards and 21 points last week by W&M. That game was a disaster on both sides of the ball for the Seawolves who managed less than 200 yards of offense.

You hesitate to call a game a "must win" this early in the season, but two early conference losses will be difficult for Stony Brook to overcome. If they can pull off the upset, however, they will have already played the two toughest conference games already as they avoid Villanova, Richmond and Delaware. That sets up for a possible run at the conference crown if they can find a way to beat the Dukes.

Boston College (3-1) at Duke (3-1), Sat. 3:30 p.m. on CSN

No one in the Coastal Division has looked more impressive to this point than Duke, which means in typical Coastal fashion the Blue Devils should be on upset alert. Duke is coming off a huge win over Georgia Tech and will look to keep rolling over Boston College.

You have to be impressed with how Boston College was able to gut out a win over Northern Illinois just one week after starting quarterback Darius Wade suffered a broken ankle. Troy Flutie manged only five completions for 92 yards against the Huskies last week. If the Eagles hope to win against Duke, they will need to be able to run the ball.

The good news for Boston College is that they enter the game with the top defense in the nation allowing only 118 yards per game. Duke may look like the better team, but do they have the offensive firepower to beat a Boston College defense that held Florida State to only 7 offensive points and 217 yards? Expect a low scoring affair in Durham.

Maine (1-2) at Richmond (2-1), Sat. 3:30 p.m. on CSN Plus

This is a true show me game for both Maine and RIchmond as we really don't know too much about either team. Maine started the season with two FBS matchups and then followed that up with a narrow win over a bad Rhode Island team. Richmond meanwhile lost to Maryland and then beat two weak FCS opponents in Hampton and VMI.

Not much you can glean from those resumes.

Maine has a big-time playmaker at receiver in Micha Wright who hauled in seven passes for 139 yards and a touchdown against URI. The offense seems to be hitting its stride as they face a Richmond defense that has been giving up nearly 400 yards per game.

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Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

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Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcus Derrickson tied a career-high with 27 points, on 11-of-13 shooting, for his eighth 20-plus point game this season and Georgetown beat Butler 87-83 on Tuesday night.

After Georgetown missed two free throws, Kamar Baldwin made a scoop shot in the lane and Sean McDermott stole the inbounds pass, leading to another Baldwin basket to pull Butler to 84-81 with 1:29 to go.

Butler had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds, but Baldwin's long 3-pointer was short and Jahvon Blair sealed it at the line at 4.5.

Jessie Govan had his 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Georgetown (15-10, 5-9 Big East). Trey Dickerson, a senior averaging 3.5 points per game, set a career-high in the first half with 12 points and finished with 18.

Kelan Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds to reach 20 points for the 17th time this season for Butler (17-10, 7-7). Tyler Wideman added 19 points and Baldwin had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

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Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982

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Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982

A loss didn't prevent Virginia from climbing to No. 1 in AP men's basketball poll for the first time in more than 35 years after all.

The Cavaliers rose a slot to sit atop Monday's AP Top 25 despite an overtime home loss Saturday to Virginia Tech, part of an upset-filled week that allowed for plenty of uncertainty in the poll. The Cavaliers (23-2, 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned 30 of 65 first-place votes to outdistance No. 2 Michigan State and rise above the turmoil that included last week's top three teams all losing.

Tony Bennett's Cavaliers had been at No. 2 before this season, but this is the first time the program has reached No. 1 since December 1982 — the senior season of 7-foot-4 great Ralph Sampson — back when the poll ranked only 20 teams. And that team fell out of that spot after its improbable upset loss to Chaminade in Hawaii, regarded by many as the biggest upset in the history of college sports.

Virginia looked set to reach the No. 1 spot after Villanova's home loss to St. John's before losing to the Hokies. Still, the Cavaliers ended up there a day after the NCAA selection committee had them as the No. 1 overall seed in its reveal of the top 16 seeds to date.

The Cavaliers — whose 12 previous weeks at No. 1 all came during the Sampson era — play with the top ranking for the first time since the Chaminade loss on Tuesday at Miami.

"I do not get too carried away with where we are," Bennett said after the loss to the Hokies. "I always say 'thus far,' and now we have to prove it again. ... Now we are going to get a chance to do it again and we are going to have to fight like crazy every game. Everybody is capable of beating everybody in this league and that is reality. If you are little off it is not enough."

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TOP-5 CHANGES

Michigan State (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) climbed two spots after a weekend win against Purdue in a top-5 matchup. The Spartans, who reached No. 1 for a week in January, earned 21 first-place votes.

Next came Villanova (23-2, 10-2 Big East), who fell to third after a five-week stay at No. 1 and earned nine first-place votes. Xavier (23-3, 11-2 Big East) inched up a spot to fourth and earned five first-place votes, followed by Cincinnati (23-2, 12-0 American Athletic Conference) at No. 5.

This is Xavier's highest ranking in its history, while Cincinnati is in the top 5 for the first time since spending a good chunk of the 2001-02 season there.

PURDUE'S SLIDE

Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big East) fell from third to sixth after losing to Ohio State and Michigan State last week. Those losses snapped the nation's longest winning streak at 19 games, marking Purdue's first losses since falling to Tennessee and Western Kentucky on consecutive November days in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

Texas Tech was next at No. 7, followed by Ohio State, Gonzaga and Auburn to round out the top 10.

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TOP RISERS

Rivalry wins against Duke and North Carolina State helped North Carolina climb seven spots to No. 14 for the week's biggest jump. It continued the Tar Heels' wild swings in poll positioning, including a nine-slot drop last month and two other slides of eight slots.

Ohio State rose six spots to No. 8 after the Purdue win, while No. 11 Clemson was up five spots.

LONGEST SLIDES

Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young had the biggest fall of the week, down six spots to No. 23. The Sooners have lost three straight and six of eight after Saturday's loss at Iowa State .

St. Mary's (15th) and Arizona (17th) both fell four spots.

NEWCOMERS

The newcomers aren't entirely new this week. Both No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 25 Arizona State have been ranked multiple weeks this season and appeared in the top 10, with the Sun Devils reaching No. 3 on Christmas Day.

SLIDING OUT

Kentucky fell out of the rankings for the second time this season -- It hadn't happened since March 2014 before this year -- from No. 24 after three straight losses. Miami fell out from No. 25 after losing at Boston College.

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