NCAA

Bryce Perkins fought tonsillitis while preparing for Virginia Tech

Bryce Perkins fought tonsillitis while preparing for Virginia Tech

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Having to find a way to beat a team that had beaten Virginia 15-straight times was a daunting enough task for UVA starting quarterback Bryce Perkins. But before he could worry about the Hokies, Perkins first had to worry about his own tonsils.

Against Liberty -- a game in which Perkins threw for 199 yards, rushed for 30 more and scored three total touchdowns -- Perkins was dealing with tonsillitis. It was severe enough to force the quarterback into the hospital overnight.

"I was getting tea on the sideline," Perkins said. "After the game, I went to the hospital and slept overnight because they were trying to work and put some antibiotics in me. And Monday, I went back to the doctor because my tonsils were really swollen, I couldn't talk and they had to drain my tonsils and really get in there."

Perkins said the doctors had to drain puss from his tonsils.

So with Virginia's in-state rival preparing to come to Scott Stadium, Perkins, Virginia's top playmaker, missed the first day of preparation.

"It was a rough first day of the week because man, I missed practice on Monday and had to come back on Tuesday still kind of feeling sick," he said.

When you lose 15-straight to a rival, the rivalry itself can mentally become harder to overcome than the actual opponent. It would have been very easy for Perkins to get down and think, "Oh man, here we go again." Instead, he fought through it.

Perkins credited Virginia's medical staff for helping him to recover so quickly.

"The sports medicine team, the doctors and everybody in this facility, they were working overnight and overtime just to get me back on my feet so shoutout to them and the great work they do and did because without them I probably wouldn't have been able to feel as better and as fast as I was," Perkins said.

There seemed to be no lingering effects on Saturday as Perkins threw for 311 yards, rushed for 164 and scored three total touchdowns to lead the Cavaliers to its first Commonwealth Cup since 2003 and its first ever Coastal Division crown.

For many, seeing puss drained out of your own tonsils would have been enough to put you out of commissions for a few days, but not for Perkins. Not even tonsillitis was going to keep him from getting to Virginia Tech.

"Ain't no chance," Perkins said. "As long as I could walk, I was going to play."

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An impressive record still has the Liberty Flames in a must-win spot to make March Madness

An impressive record still has the Liberty Flames in a must-win spot to make March Madness

When one looks at the best records in college basketball, the first teams that come to mind are the ones around the No. 1 seed conversation: Gonzaga, San Diego State, Dayton, Kansas, etc. One team that is a surprising outlier? The Liberty Flames. 

Liberty has quietly amassed a 27-3 record for the 5th best record in college basketball as of this writing.  They’ve rolled through their season with their only losses coming on the road at LSU, North Florida and Stetson. 

But in the Atlantic Sun, they have struggled to put together a quality resume that would give them a favorable seed in the NCAA Tournament. While the win total is impressive, a small number are considered relatively good. Only two games are rated as a Quadrant 1 or 2 opportunity – where they went 1-1 – the remaining 25 are in Q3 and Q4. 

When the NCAA eliminated the RPI as a metric to determine the NCAA Tournament field, the Quadrant system was implemented to rank the quality of games based on the opponent and where the game was played. And in the committee’s eyes, Liberty does not meet the standards to solidly be in the NCAA Tournament. 

Bracketologists are unified though in their analysis of the Flames. They’re one of the best teams from a single-bid conference and are currently on the No. 12 seed line. With that being the current positioning of the bubble, many teams will have an interest in how the Flames finish the season. 

Liberty will instantly pop in the bubble conversation if they lose in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Likely, they probably won’t make it to the big dance if they get another loss to an Atlantic Sun team. But it will make other teams sweat for the final two weeks. To solidify their spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, Liberty will have to win the A-Sun tournament.

They run a style similar to Virginia. A focus on defensive effort and limited possessions for the opposition. Their offense is balanced more efficiently than last season as they have three scorers averaging more than 10 points a game. 

They don’t match up well against many teams in the country. Last year they proved it by upsetting Mississippi State in a No. 5 vs. No. 12 contest. Power 5 teams won’t want to see this team on their side of the bracket this year either. 

It's not out of the question that the Flames could lose somewhere in their conference tournament. If they do, they'll have an automatic qualifier for the NIT. 

Liberty Flames Resume

Record: 27-3 
NET: 47
KenPom: 57
BPI: 40
Average Seed: 12
Q1 Record: 0-1
Q2 Record: 1-0
Q3 Record: 4-1
Q4 Record: 20-1
Best win: Akron -neutral site (NET: 79)
Worst loss: @ Stetson (NET: 304)
Remaining Schedule: Atlantic Sun Tournament

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Maryland women's lacrosse refuses to travel to Syracuse due to weather concerns

Maryland women's lacrosse refuses to travel to Syracuse due to weather concerns

The Maryland women's lacrosse team is getting an unexpected home game after concerns from the Terps' athletic department about the forecast in Syracuse, N.Y.

A game that was slated to be the first in a doubleheader in Syracuse on Friday will now be played at noon Saturday at the University of Maryland Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex after Maryland's athletic department voiced concerns about the weather forecast.

"We want to apologize for the inconvenience this causes our loyal fans, including the parents of our student-athletes and women's lacrosse alumni," said Syracuse Director of Athletics John Wildhack said in a statement. "We informed our colleagues at Maryland that the local weather forecast for the next few days is not expected to impact any of the home athletic contests we have scheduled but they chose not to travel." 

In a tweet on Friday, the Syracuse men's lacrosse account cheerfully reported that it was excellent weather for a lacrosse game.

"Safety of our student-athletes is of the utmost importance at the University of Maryland," said Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans in a statement. "Due to the forecasted winter weather conditions in Upstate New York, our University Department of Transportation determined it was unsafe to travel."