NCAA

Cavaliers Report: Running the gauntlet

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Cavaliers Report: Running the gauntlet

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

Virginia 0-0, (0-0) in the ACC

In the news

Greyson Lambert named starting quarterback: ...at Georgia. The junior quarterback decided to transfer after Matt Johns was named Virginia's No. 1 quarterback for fall camp. Lambert is from Jesup, Ga. so his transfer to Georgia made sense even though few believed he had a legitimate shot of becoming the starter. He was beat out at UVa, how could he take over for an SEC power? Take over he did, however, as head coach Mark Richt declared him the starter on Monday.

This begs the question, did Mike London get this wrong or is Georgia's quarterback situation just that dire? Or perhaps is Matt Johns that good? Lambert came into last season as the starter, but Johns was called upon in the team's very first game and the two split time in the first half of the season. Lambert had a 59 percent completion percentage last season and threw for 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also rushed for another two touchdowns. Johns had similar numbers with a 54.9 completion percentage, nine total touchdowns and five interceptions.

If Johns does not pan out this season or if Lambert plays exceptionally well in Georgia, that could make for an uncomfortable situation for London, a coach who has come under a lot of fire in recent years.

UVa signee to attend Marshall: Mike London announced through a statement on Saturday that cornerback T.J. Griffin, a 2015 signee for UVa, was granted a release from his National Letter of Intent on Saturday and will attend Marshall. Griffin could not enroll at Virginia after he was denied admission to the school. The team wanted him to go to prep school so that he could enroll next year, but Griffin opted instead to head to Marshall where he will be immediately eligible.

Griffin played high school football at Ocean Lakes in Virginia Beach. He was considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and ranked as the 24th best player in the state.

RELATED: Debate: Who is the best local coach in college football?

Season outlook

A 1-5 finish to the season erased an impressive 4-2 start for the Cavaliers last season, as Virginia fell just one win shy of a bowl game. The task of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2011 will not get any easier this year.

At this point, you know the identity of this football team. It is a conservative offense that likes to pound the ball on the ground while defensively the focus is on blitzing and disrupting the quarterback as much as possible. Last season's roster was not among the best in the nation, but it was well suited for what London envisions his team to be.

Gone are running backs Kevin Parks and Khalek Shepherd, UVa's two leading rushers from last season. Defensively, the Cavaliers will also be without their three best pass rushers from last season Max Valles, Henry Coley and Eli Harold who combined for 23 of the team's 33 sacks.

That's not to say there's nothing to like. In many ways, Johns looked like the better quarterback last season. Virginia will certainly benefit from not having a quarterback controversy that lingers all season long, assuming of course Johns plays reasonably well. With the return of wide receiver Canaan Severin, the quarterback-receiver tandem could hook up for some big-time plays.

While the Cavaliers may be lacking on their pass rush, they still have the player who may as a sophomore already be the best defensive player on the team, safety Quin Blanding. Blanding was third in the ACC last season with 123 tackles and he could have a breakout season this year as the focal point of the Cavaliers' defense.

The biggest problem facing UVa this season is their schedule. They have a brutal non-conference schedule to start with that will see them play at UCLA, Notre Dame and Boise State. Virginia could very easily start the season at 1-3 in which case they would need five wins in ACC play to reach bowl eligibility.

The good news is that UVa always plays up to their competition. They upset both Louisville and Miami last season and lost close contests against UCLA and BYU. The bad news is that the Cavaliers also seem to play down to their competition. Even if they manage an upset and start the season 2-2, be careful before you pencil them into a bowl game.

Next game at No. 13 UCLA, Sat. 3:30 p.m. ET

Preview

UVa gave the Bruins a scare last season, but ultimately three turnovers that were returned for touchdowns gave UCLA a cushion the Cavaliers could not erase. This season, Virginia goes to the Rose Bowl to play a UCLA team that is even better, but with a major question mark at quarterback.

The Bruins will start true freshman Josh Rosen at quarterback on Saturday against a UVa defense that loves to blitz the quarterback. When asked in a press conference Monday if UVa would try to put a lot of pressure on a the freshman quarterback, London replied simply, "It would be safe to assume that."

UCLA also suffered a blow on defense as starting cornerback Ishmael Adams was arrested on Monday for allegedly taking the cell phone of an Uber driver by force. Head coach Jim Mora indefinitely suspended Adams on Tuesday.

Adams was named first team All-Pac-12 last season and was a major factor in UCLA's win over UVa with a pick-six. He is also the Bruins' kick and punt returner.

Even without Adams, however, UCLA still returns 16 starters from a team that won 10 games last season which is bad news for a UVa team that lost so many playmakers.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: CFB projections: Chasing Ohio State

Georgetown notches impressive road win, Mac McClung dunks again

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Georgetown notches impressive road win, Mac McClung dunks again

The Georgetown Hoyas notched an impressive road win on Tuesday night, defeating Illinois, 88-80 as part of the fourth annual Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Hoyas (3-0) were led by freshman James Akinjo (19 points), Josh LeBlanc (14 points) and Mac McClung (12 points), while freshman Ayo Dusunmo led all players with 25 points for the Illini (1-1) in the loss.

While Georgetown is far from a finished product or even a Top 25 team, the Hoyas are must-see television.

There's a Ewing (head coach Patrick) on the sideline, a Mourning (Alonzo's son Trey) in the middle, a future pro who can stretch the floor (Jessie Govan) and the most electrifying dunker in the country (McClung).

Akinjo has all the makings of a future All Big East First Team selection, LeBlanc provides ideal length to guard multiple positions, and sophomore Jamorko Pickett is a playmaker very few are talking about right now. That just might be a great thing.

Speaking of McClung, the Gate City, Va. freshman once again put on a mixtape performance, going up-and-under for a nifty finish and finishing a transition play in reverse style.

McClung did finish 0-for-4 from beyond the arc and has now missed all 11 of his 3-point attempts this season. But the 6-1 dunk sensation does have six steals and nine assists to go along with 24 points in the first three games of his college career.

Next up for the Hoyas is a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica to take on Loyola Marymount and South Florida as part of the 2018 Jamaica Classic, which begins Friday, Nov. 16 on CBS Sports Network.

MORE GEORGETOWN NEWS:

 

Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions

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Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Duke changed everything about who AP Top 25 voters considered to be the nation's best team with a single dominating performance against a marquee opponent.

It also gave the Blue Devils yet another milestone under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski: a record number of appearances at No. 1.

The Blue Devils jumped from fourth to first Monday in the first regular-season poll, leapfrogging Kansas at the top after a blowout win against then-No. 2 Kentucky last week. That allowed Duke to set a record with its 135th week at No. 1, breaking a tie with UCLA for the most top rankings in poll history.

The 34-point win against the Wildcats in the Champions Classic to open the season marked the program's most lopsided win against a top-5 opponent. Duke was practically flawless behind star freshmen RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, and that created a buzz about the team's already lofty potential being somehow even higher than anyone anticipated.

Granted, it was one game. And Duke (2-0) didn't look nearly so dazzling Sunday at home against Army. But that one performance caused a major voting shift, even with now-No. 2 Kansas earning a quality win of its own against then-No. 10 Michigan State in the first game of the Champions Classic.

Kansas was a solid preseason No. 1 by earning 37 of 65 first-place votes, followed by 19 for Kentucky and four for Duke. But Duke now has 48 first-place votes, claiming the top spot for all 19 voters who had Kentucky as preseason No. 1 while also causing 23 voters to switch from Kansas in the preseason Duke this week.

Duke also prompted switches from the lone voters who had Gonzaga and Villanova at No. 1 in the preseason.

The hype probably won't slow anytime soon, either. The Blue Devils have everyone's attention.

"Part of becoming good is keeping the noise out of your locker room," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the Army win. "And when something good happens and you have the start of the season ... there's a lot of noise. And for us, it's not always good noise, but in this case, it was exceptional noise. Exceptional noise.

"When you have four freshmen and we don't have veterans, you have to be more mature about listening to that."

COMPLETE MEN'S BASKETBALL TOP-25 RANKINGS WEEK 2

1. Duke 2-0 (48 votes, No. 4 last week)

2. Kansas 1-0 (14 votes, No. 1 last week)

3. Gonzaga 2-0 (No. 3 last week)

4. Virginia 2-0 (2 votes, No. 5 last week)

5. Tennessee 2-0 (1 vote, No. 6 last week)

6. Nevada 2-0 (No. 7 last week)

7. North Carolina 2-0 (No. 8 last week)

8. Villanova 2-0 (No. 9 last week)

9. Auburn 2-0 (No. 11 last week)

10. Kentucky 1-1 (No. 2 last week)

11. Michigan State (No. 10 last week)

12. Kansas State 1-0 (No. 12 last week)

13. Oregon 2-0 (No. 14 last week)

14. Florida State 2-0 (No. 17 last week)

15. Syracuse 2-0 (No. 16 last week)

16. Virginia Tech 1-0 (No. 15 last week)

17. Mississippi State 2-0 (No. 18 last week)

18. Michigan 2-0 (No. 19 last week)

19. Clemson 2-0 (No. 22 last week)

20. UCLA 2-0 (No. 21 last week)

21. TCU 2-0 (No. 20 last week)

22. LSU 2-0 (No. 23 last week)

23. Purdue 2-0 (No. 24 last week)

24. Marquette 2-0 (Not ranked last week)

25. Buffalo 2-0 (Not ranked last week)

AT THE TOP

Gonzaga stayed at No. 3, followed by Virginia and Tennessee each climbing a spot to round out the top 5. Nevada, North Carolina, reigning national champion Villanova and Auburn were next, while Kentucky slid eight spots to No. 10.

TOP RISERS

There weren't any dramatic climbs beyond the Duke-Kansas change at the top. In all, 16 teams moved up this week poll, with No. 14 Florida State and No. 19 Clemson matching Duke's three-spot jump for the biggest of the week.

Twelve of the gains were merely one spot.

LONGEST SLIDES

Kentucky's fall was the biggest for any team that stayed in the poll. The others were all modest, with four teams -- Kansas, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 16 Virginia Tech and No. 21 TCU -- falling one spot each.

NEWCOMERS

There were two new teams in the poll with No. 24 Marquette and No. 25 Buffalo.

It's the first appearance for Marquette in nearly five years since last appearing at No. 25 in November 2013.

As for Buffalo, it's the first AP Top 25 appearance in program history. It comes after the Bulls got 43 points and 14 rebounds from CJ Massinburg to beat then-No. 13 West Virginia on the road -- another marquee upset for a team that beat Arizona and eventual No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Deandre Ayton in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament.

SLIDING OUT

The Mountaineers slid all the way out after losing to the Bulls, which marked their first loss in a home opener since November 2003. Washington fell out from No. 25 after a loss to Auburn.

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