NCAA

DMV Preseason College Basketball Power Rankings

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USA Today Sports

DMV Preseason College Basketball Power Rankings

There are 29 Division I schools in the Mid-Atlantic area ranging from the University of Delaware in Newark to Virginia Tech down in Blacksburg.

At NBC Sports Washington, no team in the region will be left out in our power rankings throughout the 2017-18 college basketball season.

For these rankings, schools in Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware are included.

Last season five of these schools made the big dance and potentially more are primed to join the fray this year.

RELATED: NO LOCAL TEAMS IN PRESEASON AP TOP 25

1. Maryland Terrapins (Big Ten):

The Melo Trimble era in College Park is finally over but that will not stop the Terrapins from having another NCAA Tournament year.

Three starters are returning after incredible freshman campaigns from Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan Jr., and Kevin Huerter. Already we saw how talented Jackson can be on the court and is an early favorite for the Big Ten All-1st Team.

2. Virginia Cavaliers (ACC):

Remember the no-fun, low-scoring defensive minded Cavaliers from 2016? 

Not much has changed except their offense in London Perrantes is now gone.  Sure the Cavaliers will be a near-lock to make the NCAA Tournament, but with their offense consistent winning streaks are not on the horizon. Another top-to-middle of the pack season in the ACC for Virginia this year.

3. VCU Rams (A-10):

New head coach Mike Rhoades will have his hands full on his first year with the Rams.

However, VCU has never seemed to have an issue with a coaching change. He has a Preseason All-Atlantic 10 1st Teamer, Justin Tillman leading a squad that will continue with their ‘havoc’ defense. Johnny Williams will be the facilitator in the backcourt and will be more than formidable to replace JeQuan Lewis.

Additionally their post depth was reinforced with grad transfer Kris Lane from Longwood.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC):

This is a tough team to predict what will happen this year. Besides losing Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, there is a lot of experience returning for the Hokies. At the same time, they do not have a post-player that saw minutes in 2016. They shouldn’t be bad but physical teams might give them some trouble especially early on.

5. George Mason Patriots (A-10):

After years of despair, the Patriots returned to their winning ways thanks to the back of Marquise Moore in 2017.

However, with Moore departing with his double-doubles, three starters are returning for George Mason. Become familiar with 5-11 guard, Otis Livingston II who as a junior has 66 starts and averaged double figures in his freshman and sophomore years.

6. Towson Tigers (CAA):

College of Charleston is the popular pick as league champion but Towson has a senior guard duo that can match any team in the league.

Both Mike Morsell and Deshaun Morman are a great all-around package that can take over games offensively and defensively. Their schedule is deceptively decent and might just be an NCAA Tournament team when this season is all said and done.

7. Richmond Spiders (A-10):

Replacing the 2017 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year T.J. Cline is no easy task. It doesn’t make it any easier with the leading returning scorer Khwan Fore missing the first couple weeks of the season.

Richmond faces a fair amount of teams on this list throughout their season but making it back to even the NIT may be a stretch for this season.

8. UMBC Retrievers (A-East):

The America East conference could be primed for a huge year and the Golden Retrievers would be a huge part of that of that transformation. Their schedule is balanced and winnable with a line-up that saw a lot of action in 2017.

9. George Washington Colonials (A-10):

Second year head coach Maurice Joseph gets his first off-season under his belt and is looking to get this Colonial squad back into the top half of the Atlantic 10. Like all other A10 teams on this list, they did graduate their best player on the court, Tyler Cavanaugh, but are looking for senior 6-9 guard Yuta Watanabe to take his place.

10. Georgetown Hoyas (Big East):

Everyone’s favorite punching bag this past year finally gets to work with new coach Patrick Ewing.

With a cake-walk of a non-conference schedule the Hoyas should end the season with a winning record, barring they do win a couple of Big East games. Georgetown will be a big team in 2017-18 and hopefully one of the best bigs of all-time can coach them up.

11. Morgan State Bears (MEAC):

Phillip Carr could very easily lead this team to a regular season championship. Last year he was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. This season he is the favorite to be the conference’s Player of the Year.

12. Hampton Pirates (MEAC):

Another team that is returning a lot of experience, Hampton has four players that started 18 or more games last season. A year ago they were extremely young and it resulted in poor shooting numbers throughout the season.

Expect that to improve and prove they are a contender in the fairly open MEAC.

13. Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC):

The two leading scorers for the Spartans, guard Zaynah Robinson and forward Alex Long, return after impressive seasons last year. Norfolk State is looking to break through and win the MEAC this season after falling short in the championship game for the second time in the past four years.

14. Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA):

You cannot ask for a better facilitator than Ahmad Caver. The junior returns after averaging 13.0 ppg and 4.8 apg, being named to the Conference USA Preseason team. Build the team around him this season and they can make a run during his senior campaign.

15. Liberty Flames (Big South):

Success will continue with the Flames heading into this season. A year removed from their first 20-win season in nearly a decade, Liberty has the tools to continue to remain at the top of the Big South. Because of their schedule, the team will have to rely on an automatic Big South berth to get into the tournament.

16. William & Mary Tribe (CAA):

Quite honestly the Tribe could be a sleeper in the CAA. Yes they lost their two leading scorers from 2016 but Tony Shaver knows how to coach and he has one of the best young talents in the league playing for him, Nathan Knight.

Turnovers should be down this year and like always William & Mary knows how to efficiently shoot.

17. Navy Midshipmen (Patriot):

Four starters are back for the Midshipmen after a semi-final run in the Patriot League. They may not be on pace to contend with Bucknell for the conference title, but their season can go a long way in how the league will look as a whole.

18. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (NEC):

Twelve freshmen are new to The Mount after the squad made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2017.

Normally this would hurt a team but there are two reasons to still like the Mountaineers; 5-5 guard Junior Robinson and head coach Jamion Christian. With what both of these two accomplished last year, anything is possible.

19. Delaware Blue Hens (CAA):

Delaware fouled too much, continuously turned the ball over, and had atrocious shooting numbers in 2016-17. Bottom line they are going to need to give sophomore guard Ryan Daly some help if they are going to want to make any noise.

20. Loyola Greyhounds (Patriot):

Returning a majority of their line-up from a season ago the Greyhounds may be on track for their best season since 2012-13. Senior guard Andre Walker is coming off of a First-Team All-Patriot League performance and will even be looked at to score more.

21. James Madison Dukes (CAA):

Six freshmen, two transfers who became eligible this season, two junior college transfers, and a grad transfer highlight nine newcomers for the Dukes. That’s all you really need to know for James Madison.

22. American Eagles (Patriot):

The trend at American is having a bad season followed by a good season (and vice versa). If the trend continues it should be a good one for them in the Patriot League. There is no reason not to believe it either because of their 22 losses last year, 13 of them were by 10 points or less.

23. Radford (Big South):

Returning their leading scorer and their leading rebounder in Ed Polite Jr., the Highlanders have a lot to build on heading into a new year.

24. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (MEAC):

Losing go-to scorer Bakari Copeland will be a tough hole to fill in the Eagles line-up this season. UMES believes they can now become a contender after a surprise MEAC semi-final run last year but unless a young blood steps up they will be right around the middle again.

25. Longwood Lancers (Big South):

Ending the season with a 16-game losing streak was just the nail in the coffin from last year. Losing their two best players, the Lancers will have to find a new identity once again.

26. Howard Bison (MEAC):

The Bison face all three of their D.C. opponents in one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the MEAC. No one expects much from Howard in these games but could it prepare them better than any other team in the league?

27. Delaware State Hornets (MEAC):

Losing their two top players from a season ago, the Hornets have a tall task ahead with only senior forward, Kavon Waller leading the troops.

28. Coppin State (MEAC):

The Eagles got Juan Dixon as a new head coach for the 2017-18 season. Hopefully it will help them going forward because they have not had a winning season since 2011.

29. VMI Keydets (SoCon):

Last season VMI only had one non-conference win against a Division I school. The outlook for this year is not much better.

Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

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Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

Kyle Guy scored 29 points and hit two 3-pointers in the final three minutes Friday, leading Virginia to a 76-67 victory against VCU.

Ty Jerome also hit from long range in the closing minutes and Virginia (3-0) saw its lead trimmed to three at 63-60 with five minutes left. Neither team scored for the next two minutes before Guy came off a screen right in front of the Cavaliers' and doubled their lead.

Issac Vann made it 66-62 with a driving basket for VCU (2-1), but Guy hit a pair of free throws and Jerome followed with a 3-pointer.

RELATED: DMV COLLEGE BASKETBALL POWER RANKINGS

Jerome added 13 points and seven assists for Virginia.

Vann led VCU with 19 points, Johnny Williams had 14 and Khris Lane 12.

THE BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers had little trouble with VCU's pressure, turning the ball over just five times and outscoring the Rams 12-5 off turnovers. They also outscored the Rams 18-0 on fast break points, but they were beaten on the backboards 36-26.

VCU: The Rams averaged 94.5 points in their first two games, but are still working to integrate what first-year coach Mike Rhoades wants them to do on offense and defense. Johnny Williams can be a force driving to the basket, and transfer Vann gives them another quality 3-point shooter.

UP NEXT

Virginia is at home on Sunday against Monmouth.

VCU faces Marquette in the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

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Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

NEW YORK -- Character was the theme espoused by Saint Louis coach Travis Ford and Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams.

Ford praised his team's ethos, as opposed to Williams, who wondered about his squad's makeup.

"What haunts me is our character was revealed in how we played," Williams said after Saint Louis topped Virginia Tech, 77-71, in the opening round of the 2K Classic on Thursday night.

"This was the first time I was caught off-guard," Williams said.

Javon Bess scored 22 points and Jordan Goodwin added 19 for Saint Louis (3-0).

"All week in practice we worked on getting back in transition," Goodwin said. "Make sure we help each other out. We take pride in our defense. Sometimes the offense might not go but every night we guard we're going to be there every play."

Despite getting a career-high 26 points from Ahmed Hill, Virginia Tech fell to 2-1. Justin Bibbs scored 15 in his first game of the season after sitting out the first two games for disciplinary reasons. Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 10 before fouling out.

"They were tougher than us from start to finish," Williams said. "I didn't think we were ever in the fight. I don't think we were ever in the mix."

The eighth all-time matchup between the Atlantic 10 and Atlantic Coast Conference programs was taut as St. Louis' 61-49 advantage with 7:57 left was the largest lead for either team.

On the strength of an 11-3 run, though, Virginia Tech cut the deficit to 64-60. Four points is as close as the Hokies would get.

Davell Rovy's baseline layup pushed the lead back to 66-60. Bess made seven free throws and Goodwin three in the final minute to help seal the win.

"It was good to see," Ford said. "We've had some really poor performances from the free-throw line in some games -- exhibition games and different things; we've had some other games where we've shot them a little bit better -- it was good to see because I think that's when you're tested.

"I've seen that from Javon. I've seen that from Jordan and different guys. When it's on the line, they seem to rise to the occasion."

Benefiting an early-season game, there were areas in which Williams and Ford to work on with their teams. For the Hokies, free-throw shooting was a significant issue as they made only 23 of 36 (63.9 percent).

Saint Louis made just 4 of 18 from the arc.

"I thought they overwhelmed us," Williams said.