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Hokies Report: Blacksburg prepares to say goodbye

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Hokies Report: Blacksburg prepares to say goodbye

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

Virginia Tech 5-5, (3-3) in the ACC

In the news

Bucky Hodges named semi-finalist for Mackey Award: At 6 feet seven inches, Bucky Hodges is tough to defend and the nation has taken notice. On Monday it was announced that Hodges was one of eight finalists for the John Mackey Award which is awarded annually to the most outstanding tight end. With 27 catches on the season, Hodges is actually on pace for fewer than the 45 he had last season. He has also hauled in five touchdowns this season giving him 12 for his career. Hodges is now tied for the third most touchdown catches ever by a tight end in ACC history which is incredible considering he is a redshirt sophomore.

GameDay acknowledges Beamer: Despite an impressive push from the Virginia Tech faithful, ESPN's College GameDay will not be in Blacksburg for Frank Beamer's last home game on Saturday. The crew did, however, issue a response to the #GameDay4Frank movement:

Uniform news: Virginia Tech will wear black jerseys for Saturday's home game and retro throwback jerseys for the season finale against Virginia. Here's a look at the black jerseys:

Each helmet will have the number 25 on the side of it, the number Beamer wore as a player for Virginia Tech.

The team will also wear special helmet stickers for both games as you can see from the picture. The sticker depicts Beamer after the win over Boston College in 1999 which sealed the team's undefeated season.

RELATED: Bruce Allen pays tribute to Frank Beamer

Last week's game: 23-21 win at Georgia Tech

Read the recap of the game here.

After spotting Georgia Tech 14 points, Virginia Tech clamped down on defense and did not allow another touchdown. A horrendous interception by Brewer almost gave the Yellow Jackets the win, but in the end, the Hokies pulled out the victory and came one step closer to bowl eligibility.

Travon McMillian further established himself as the feature back with 135 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not a great night for Brewer. In addition to the interception, he threw for only 178 yards.

You can't take too much from this game given that Georgia Tech is only a 3-7 team and that Bud Foster has had success against the triple option in his career. If you're hoping this signals a turnaround for the defense, that would be premature. Still, holding Georgia Tech to only 161 rushing yards and 14 points is a good sign.

Next game: Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina, Sat. 12:00 p.m. ET

Preview

Virginia Tech has won four of their last five games against North Carolina, but the team the Hokies will face Saturday appears to be the best of the Larry Fedora era.

In a division in which one team rarely seems to establish itself as the clear team to beat, North Carolina has done so this season with a 9-1 record going 6-0 in the conference after rolling through Pittsburgh, Duke and Miami.

You know what the Hokies are playing for this weekend, but North Carolina has plenty to play for as well as a win will clinch their spot in the ACC championship game.

Setting all the fanfare aside, Virginia Tech is in for a tough game. North Carolina boasts the second best offense in the conference behind only Clemson. Slowing down a middling Georgia Tech is one thing, the Marquise Williams led Tar Heels are something else entirely. With Williams at the helm, the Hokies will face yet another mobile quarterback which of course is something they have struggled immensely with.

It also doesn't help that North Carolina is taking good care of the ball. The Tar Heels have not turned the ball over in their last three games. In their season-opening loss to South Carolina, three interceptions from Williams proved to be critical. He has only thrown four interceptions in the nine games since then.

The result? North Carolina's offense is rolling and has scored 125 points in their last two games. Foster will have his work cut out for him.

North Carolina can't score, however, if they're not on the field. In addition to having one of the top offenses in the conference, they also have the ACC's worst rush defense allowing 206.1 yards per game. The way to beat UNC is to keep running the ball and running the clock. This is the clear formula, but so far no one has been able to take advantage. This will be a huge game for McMillian.

The emotions will run high in Lane Stadium as Beamer takes the sidelines for the final time in Blacksburg. Will that fuel the Hokies to the upset win?

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Cavaliers Report: Avoiding costly mistakes

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.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

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.

MORE NCAA: BEST BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

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."