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Hokies Report: Can Brewer return for Friday?

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Hokies Report: Can Brewer return for Friday?

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 2-3, (0-1) in the ACC

In the news

Brewer resumes practicing: Quarterback Michael Brewer was cleared to return to practice on Monday. He will be re-evaluated throughout the week and is considered a game-time decision for Friday.

Playing in a game and throwing around the ball in practice where no one is trying to hit you are obviously two very different things. The fact that he's practicing again is a good sign, but is in no way a guarantee that he will be ready for NC State.

Williams out for the season: The question over whether or not Marshawn Williams will be able to return this season has been answered. The school announced Monday that Williams had re-injured his knee and needs another surgery. The setback will keep him out of for the entire 2015 season.

Williams tore his ACL last season and was working to try and return for 2015. The school also announced that he would seek a medical redshirt, but, since Williams is a true sophomore and has not yet redshirted, he is not eligible and instead will take a regular redshirt.

Stroman changes positions: Frank Beamer announced this week that cornerback Greg Stroman will make a full-time switch to wide receiver. The fact that this is "full-time" is significant as this shows it is not a scheme or a package (think J.J. Watt catching passes for the Texans). For all intents and purposes, Stroman is now a wide receiver.

Stroman was the team's nickelback corner so this is a significant move, but it is also a gamble. With Kendall Fuller lost for the year, now seems like a curious time to take another corner out of the mix, but offenses have been victimizing Stroman all season. It became clear in the Ohio State game that the Buckeyes were targeting the sophomore corner and having success.

Virginia Tech has desperately tried to find a consistent third wide receiver option to compliment Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips and Stroman may be Beamer's answer.

True freshman Mook Reynolds is expected to take over at nickelback.

RELATED: Cavaliers Report: UVa looks to salvage season in the ACC

Kam Chancellor ends holdout: Kam Chancellor missed the first three games of the regular season as he was holding out for a new contract from the Seattle Seahawks. The former Virginia Tech star made his return Monday night and reminded us all how good he is.

Last week's game: 17-13 loss vs. Pittsburgh

See the 5 big takeaways from this game here.

After a promising start to the season for the offensive line and surprisingly good quarterback play from backup quarterback Brenden Motley, the offense completely collapsed in an ugly game against Pittsburgh. The Hokies managed only 9 rushing yards and 100 total on offense. That is the lowest number of rushing yards since the 2012 Russell Athletics Bowl in which they managed only 3 yards against Rutgers, and the lowest number of total yards since 1987 in Frank Beamer's first game as head coach when the offense gained only 60 yards against Clemson.

The offensive line gave up seven sacks and Motley threw three interceptions, two of which were terrible throws.

Needless to say, it was a terrible game and yet, if there is any silver lining to Saturday's debacle it is that the offense was at its absolute worst and they still only lost by 4.

The special teams contributed big plays for Virginia Tech with a blocked a punt and the defense held Pitt to only 276 yards despite playing without Fuller who is lost for the season.

That's little comfort to fans out there, but it does show that perhaps the season is salvageable if the offense can improve, but the offensive line must get better in a hurry.

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

Preview

Virginia Tech was dominated by the 4th best defense in the country last week and now they get to face No. 3. NC State is currently third in the nation in total defense as they are allowing just under 226 yards per game. Those totals are inflated by the level of competition the Wolfpack has faced this season (Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, South Alabama and Louisville), but the totals are impressive none the less.

The big question for Virginia Tech entering this game is who will play quarterback. Brewer has been cleared to return to practice, but is considered a game-time decision. NC State does not get to the quarterback as much as Pittsburgh, but considering that the offensive line was shredded by the Panthers, do the Hokies really want to expose their starting quarterback coming off of a broken collarbone to the same sort of punishment as Motley faced?

Obviously this is all moot if Brewer is not cleared, but even if he is, there is reason to wonder if Beamer would immediately put Brewer back in.

Considering that Motley has played fairly well (before last week), the bigger question for the offense this week will be establishing the run. Despite having a stable of backs, Virginia Tech has largely relied on Motley on the ground. That is not a recipe for success. Whether it's J.C. Coleman or Travon McMillian, the Hokies need to give the ball to a running back and allow him to get into a rhythm. With a defense as good as NC State's, Virginia Tech needs to be balanced and use every weapon available to them.

NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett has yet to throw an interception, but he could struggle this week against the Hokies' pass rush. The Wolfpack have allowed 12 sacks this season already. Go back and re-read the first five teams NC State has faced and ask yourself if NC State should have allowed so many sacks against that schedule. Twelve sacks is bad. If Brissett has time, he will go after the new nickelback in Reynolds and find holes in a depleted secondary. If he doesn't have time, he will be forced to get rid of the ball early which could generate turnovers.

NC State won their first four games, but lost last week to Louisville, the first team they played against that still has a pulse. Does Virginia Tech still have a pulse in Blacksburg?

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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.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

RELATED: LATEST DMV COLLEGE HOOPS POWER RANKINGS

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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