NCAA

2019 Mid-Atlantic college hoops power rankings: Virginia is back where they left off

virginia-va_tech_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

2019 Mid-Atlantic college hoops power rankings: Virginia is back where they left off

Entering Week 3 of the college basketball season we've already seen it all. 

The No. 1 team in the country has gone down twice. Michigan State lost to Kentucky, moving the Wildcats to the top spot. Then Kentucky proceeded to lose to a team that no one could name their mascot outside of the state of Indiana.

Conference play also started in the ACC before going on a hiatus until December, much to Jim Boeheim's disdain.  

Despite all the concerns that several pundits had on defending national champions, Virginia, there are no worries in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers defensive approach is just as dominant as ever. Still early, but they're holding opponents to a sub-40 point average.

Virginia Tech also looks legit even though everyone departed out of Blacksburg. Dan Fischer is also off to a fast start at William and Mary. 

Now attention will begin to shift to the preseason conference tournaments. All local teams will partake in at least one before the end of the calendar year. 

Mid-Atlantic matchups to watch: 

Vermont vs. Virginia - Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m. on ACC Regional Networks
UMBC vs. LSU - Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 on ESPN+
George Mason vs. Maryland - Friday, Nov. 22 at 7:00 p.m. on Big Ten Network
Virginia Tech vs. Michigan State (Maui Invitational) - Monday, Nov. 25 at 5:00 p.m. on ESPN2
VCU vs. Purdue (Emerald Coast Classic) - Friday, Nov. 29 at 9:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Mid-Atlantic Power Rankings

1. Virginia Cavaliers (ACC):
Record: 3-0 (1-0)

Last Week: #2

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Virginia defensively dominated Syracuse, holding them to 34 points. The Orange shot 24% from the floor and 18% from behind the arc.

They replicated that against James Madison, holding them to 34 points as well, and Columbia.

It won't be pretty basketball again in Charlottesville, but they'll still be good. The lone returning starter from last year's championship squad, Kihei Clark nearly messed around and had a triple-double. Ten points, 11 rebounds and seven assists led the way in the season opener. 

But Mamadi Diakite is averaging 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds through three games for the Cavs. He and dunking sensation Jay Huff will be a powerful duo to watch in the post. 

They might have not been in the national championship conversation at the start of the season. That tune has quickly changed with how ahead the Cavaliers appear to be.

They'll be in the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament for the next two weeks. 

2. Maryland Terrapins (Big Ten):
Record: 3-0
Last Week: #1 (-1)

Turnovers have racked up for an experienced Terrapins squad to start the season, averaging over 12 per game. Fortunately for them, it hasn't cost Maryland yet as they are countering by forcing opponents to turn it over 17 times each night. And unlike other top-tier teams in the country, they've managed to win all their games. 

While there were some bumps in the first two games, their win against Oakland was their first convincing win from the opening tip. 

The offense has been incredibly balanced so far as five players are averaging double figures. At least that is in terms of scoring in the paint. No one has lit it up from deep despite the shooting ability of Anthony Cowan Jr., Aaron Wiggins and others. 

A light schedule has benefited them so far but it will pick up once they go to the Orlando Invitational with Temple, Texas A&M and Harvard.

3. VCU Rams (A-10):
Record: 4-0
Last Week: #3 (N/A)

Beating former head coach Will Wade and his ranked LSU Tigers was quite the early season victory for VCU. They were clearly ready, forcing 26 LSU turnovers, and their fans were more than ready for Wade and the trolling that ensued

Attention, and rightfully so, has been on Marcus Evans and his ability to lead the Rams deep into the season again. But Marcus Santos Silva has dominated the opposition by averaging a double-double with 12.8 points and 10.8 rebounds.

The Rams are looking great and have another huge benchmark within the next couple of weeks when they head to the Emerald Coast Classic. They'll play Purdue and either Florida State or Tennessee. 

They're the class of the Atlantic 10 this season and are shaping up to have a pretty big season. 

4. Georgetown Hoyas (Big East):
Record: 3-1
Last Week: #4 (N/A)

The Hoyas have not looked convincing so far. In both their Mount St. Mary's and Georgia State victories they trailed at some point in the second half. Games that the Hoyas should not be trailing in.

Results in terms of wins and losses were what is to be expected with their 3-1 record. 

Their rebounding ability, with two players 6-8 or higher, has ultimately pulled them back ahead in all of their wins. 

They will have to step up their 3-point game as well. Only making less than six 3-pointers a game, they've become one-dimensional and that will not set them up for success in the Big East. 

5. Liberty Flames (Atlantic Sun):
Record: 4-0
Last Week: #5 (N/A)

Liberty is a tough team to gauge through the first two weeks of the season. Their stars are still performing at a high level and their style is still holding teams to under 60 points. 

Yet, their wins aside from South Carolina State have not been impressive. Radford, their biggest rival, is their best opponent so far and it was close.

If they keep winning it will still be tough to tell how great the Flames are. If they lose at all before their road contest at Grand Canyon that will be a different story. 

6. Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC):
Record: 4-0 (1-0)
Last Week: #8 (+2)

A great start to the Mike Young era by an opening night victory over Clemson. First, they couldn't really ask for a better opponent when the ACC decided to start the season with a conference game for each school. Clemson lost four of their starters from last season and Young, Wofford's former head coach, is quite familiar with the Tigers.  

Redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II debuted with 30 points and P.J. Horne had eight points and seven rebounds. 

Nolley did it again against Lehigh with seven 3-pointers.

Virginia Tech might not have as drastic of a rebuild as originally thought. 

7. George Mason Patriots (A-10):
Record: 4-0
Last Week: #6 (-1)

It is not like the Patriots are beating the creme de la crop in their 4-0 start, but they are doing it without their best player on the court in Justin Kier. Right now they are tied for the best start in program history and could easily get that with Loyola (MD).

After that, No. 7 Maryland. Then the Cayman Islands Classic. We'll learn who these Patriots are real quick.

There are some exciting athletes in Fairfax to keep an eye on in A.J. Wilson and freshman Xavier Johnson. A lot of potential on George Mason

8. Old Dominion Monarchs (C-USA):
Record: 3-1
Last Week: #7 (-1)

Old Dominion is traveling through the old CAA during this stretch of their schedule. Monarchs played Northeastern, now have James Madison, George Mason, William & Mary and VCU up within the next three weeks. Doesn't everyone miss the good 'ole days of the CAA?

Through their 3-1 start, Jeff Jones earned his 500th career win which is 25th among active coaches. Redshirt Junior Xavier Green is also off to a phenomenal start for Old Dominion with a C-USA Player of the Week award and a 16.5 ppg mark through four games. 

9. UMBC Retrievers (A-East):
Record: 4-0
Last Week: #9 (N/A)

The Retrievers have only played one Division I opponent after two weeks. The rest were Division II and III no contest victories. Still, in the one D-1 game, they had an impressive road comeback to beat Florida Gulf Coast. L.J. Owens nailed a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to complete the turnaround. 

But they did get a hat tip from Evansville after the Aces upset Kentucky. 

More competition to properly gauge UMBC upcoming as they travel to previously ranked LSU and head to the Jamaica Classic.

10. Richmond Spiders (A-10):
Record: 3-0
Last Week: #10

An overtime win over Vanderbilt has many turning heads and changing their expectations for the Spiders this season. Also, two guards Jacob Gilyard and Nick Sherod averaging 22 points a contest will turn heads too.

Sherod, coming off an ACL injury last November, has already claimed one A-10 Co-Player of the Week honor after his 27 points in the opener against St. Francis. 

11. Delaware Blue Hens (CAA):
Record: 5-0
Last Week: #12 (+1)

What a start for Nate Darling and the undefeated Blue Hens. At 5-0, Delaware is currently in its third-best start in team history and their most wins to start a season in over two decades. Darling is pacing them as he is averaging 26 ppg including a 37 point game vs. UTSA.

12. William & Mary Tribe (CAA):
Record: 4-1
Last Week: #18 (+6)

A great start in the Dane Fischer era of Tribe basketball. Their 4-1 record's only blemish is a five-point road loss to Oklahoma - which they led during the second half. Andy Van Vliet also had a notable performance against Hampton with 22 points, 12 rebounds on 10-of-13 shots

Several changes for the Tribe in a program that does not change too often. Dane Fischer is the new head coach now and inherits a squad that averaged 23 3-point attempts per game.

13. James Madison Dukes (CAA):
Record: 2-2
Last Week: #15 (+2)

14. Radford Highlanders (Big South):
Record: 1-2
Last Week: #11 (-3)

15. Towson Tigers (CAA):
Record: 2-2
Last Week: #19 (+4)

16. American Eagles (Patriot):
Record: 1-3
Last Week: #13 (-3)

17. Hampton Pirates (Big South):
Record: 2-1
Last Week: #16 (+1)

18. Loyola Greyhounds (Patriot):
Record: 2-2
Last Week: #17 (+1)

19. Norfolk State Spartans (MEAC):
Record: 3-1
Last Week: #20 (+1)

20. Longwood Lancers (Big South):
Record: 4-1
Last Week: #21 (+1)

21. Navy Midshipmen (Patriot):
Record: 2-1
Last Week: #22 (+1)

22. George Washington Colonials (A-10):
Record: 1-3
Last Week: #14 (-8)

A rough start to the Jamion Christian era for the Colonials. Losses to Towson, American and Morgan State have put George Washington behind the eight ball. The good news is they were all at least close and Arnaldo Toro had 22 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Howard.

23. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (NEC):
Record: 1-3
Last Week: #23 (N/A)

The results are not quite there for the Mountaineers, but they have given both Georgetown and Washington a scare.

24. Coppin State (MEAC):
Last Season: 1-4
Last Week: #26 (+2)

Juan Dixon's Coppin State Eagles knocked off Loyola Chicago for his biggest win since taking over the helm in 2017. It is the program's first win over a Division I opponent not in the MEAC since 2013. 

25. Morgan State Bears (MEAC):
Record: 2-2
Last Week: #25 (N/A)

Kevin Broadus looking great as the new head coach of Morgan State. The former Maryland assistant has the Bears 2-2 with a win over the Atlantic 10's George Washington.

26. VMI Keydets (SoCon):
Record: 1-5
Last Week: #27 (+1)

27. Howard Bison (MEAC):
Record: 0-5
Last Week: #24 (-3)

28. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (MEAC):
Record: 0-4
Last Week: #28 (N/A)

29. Delaware State Hornets (MEAC):
Record: 0-4
Last Week: #29 (N/A)

Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

jim_boeheim_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

WASHINGTON - Do not expect James Akinjo to transfer to Syracuse this season.  

Orange head coach Jim Boeheim had some harsh words for the former Georgetown guard. Critical of Akinjo's overall approach to the game, Boeheim attributed his removal from the team to Georgetown's three-game winning streak. 

"They got rid of a guy that wouldn't pass the ball to anybody and just shot every time. That's why they're good now," Boeheim said referring to Akinjo after his team's loss to Hoyas.

Akinjo is one of four players that has announced they are leaving the Georgetown program in the past four weeks. As a starter for the Hoyas, Akinjo's loss was the most notable. The rest were all bench players, two seeing action on the back-end of the rotation. 

There is some credence to Boeheim's points. Akinjo averaged 4.4 assists in the seven games he played to start the season. The team as a whole had 14.6 assists on 26 made baskets per game - a 56% assist rate. The three games without him have seen that rate drastically tick up to 69% (20.7 assists on 30 made shots). Against SMU, Georgetown's 26 assists were the most they've had in a single game in nine years. 

Boeheim would also go on to say that despite the loss of four scholarship players, the remaining team is one of the best Georgetown teams he's seen in recent memory. He was unwavering in his support for Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing and was pleased with how he handled the whole situation. 

“Two guys weren’t really contributing at all and another guy was throwing the ball up all the time. I know Patrick [Ewing] can’t say that, but I can. I watched [James Akinjo] play three games. He lost three games, two games by himself," Boeheim said. "(Now) they have a pass-first point guard who can also score and (Mac) McClung gets to play away from the ball... they're a completely different team. If we played them, the way they were playing earlier in the year, we would’ve won the game.”

Terrell Allen, a grad transfer out of UCF, has filled the point guard void in Akinjo's absence. In their big win over SMU, he had 10 of the team's 26 assists and no turnovers. The DeMatha product added six more against Syracuse.

Akinjo has already jumped into the transfer market, visiting Arizona earlier this week. It appears there is no reason for him to waste his time taking a visit to central New York.

MORE HOYAS NEWS:

Malcolm Perry breaks Army-Navy rushing record in Midshipmen victory

usatsi_perry.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Malcolm Perry breaks Army-Navy rushing record in Midshipmen victory

In a game between two teams who have for many years run the triple option, you have to be a pretty special player to run for the most yards ever in the Army-Navy Game. Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry did just that on Saturday as he led the Midshipmen to the 31-7 victory snapping a three-year losing streak to Army.

Perry finished the game with 304 rushing yards, the most ever for any player in the Army-Navy Game. He also rushed for two touchdowns.

"How did I bench him last year?" head coach Ken Niumatalolo said during a postgame interview on CBS.

Army took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and Perry took over from there, leading the Midshipmen to 31 unanswered points.

Perry was not the story of the first half as Navy took a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter off of the Philly Special, but his dominant performance became hard to ignore as the game went on as Army proved unable to stop the speedy quarterback.

The victory ensures Navy's senior class did not go without a win against their archrival. It also earned the Midshipmen their first Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 2015.

With the loss, Army's season is now over. Perry will have one game left in his Navy football career as the Midshipmen will play Kansas State on Dec. 31 in the Liberty Bowl.

MORE NCAA NEWS: