NCAA

Following two Power 5 wins, Radford is primed to make more noise this season

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Following two Power 5 wins, Radford is primed to make more noise this season

If your favorite college basketball team has Radford on its schedule this season, take note.

The Highlanders are going to make some noise this season, err, well, going to make more noise this season

Already the small, less than 10,000 students enrolled, school from Radford, Va., has gathered two Power 5 victories this season. The first shocking upset came in a road win at Notre Dame. The second against the 17th ranked team in the country, Texas, also on the road.

The season has started with a 6-1 record, a year removed from its third NCAA Tournament bid and a Big South Championship. The three top scorers from that title team returned, including Big South First Team selection Ed Polite Jr. and Big South Rookie of the Year Carlik Jones.

So far this season the two have developed into a dynamic duo on the court. Polite is averaging a double-double (12.0 ppg and 10.4 rpg), while Jones is far from suffering a sophomore slump, leading the team with 16 points per game. Jones' latest heroics included the and-one basket to put his team ahead of Texas in the closing seconds.

Neither of them though are what carried their team in both of their upset victories. Their defense completely shut down both the Fighting Irish and the Longhorns to below 37 percent from the field. Two teams that are expected to compete for NCAA Tournament spots, unable to score at home. 

There is only one blemish on the Highlanders' season thus far and that was an obscure loss to Duquesne.  

This is a team built to make it back to the NCAA Tournament this season, and perhaps not as a No. 16 seed. Mike Jones, the 2018 Big South Coach of the Year, has this team in 30th in the new NET Rankings, that are supposed to be a new and improved version of the RPI.

The team also received votes in the AP poll for the first time in Radford's 43-year history.

That's not only the resume of a team to win their conference, that's borderline at-large territory. Sure they're not in the same category as Gonzaga, Nevada or Buffalo this season, but that next mid-major tier should have Radford included. 

And they might not be done with their early-season success to build on that. Still on the horizon for the Highlanders are a date at Clemson, a road game against the Maryland Terrapins and a sneaky good matchup against Georgia Southern. Beating Texas marked the program's first ever win over a ranked opponent. The second and third one may not be far behind. 

If the Highlanders are to grab another Power 5 victory or two, without a questionable loss, some may think highly of this Highlander team come March.

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Army-Navy: Why the Midshipmen hold the edge and should snap Army's streak in Saturday's match-up

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Army-Navy: Why the Midshipmen hold the edge and should snap Army's streak in Saturday's match-up

The regular season isn’t over yet. There’s still one last piece of business to attend to and it may be the biggest game of the season. It’s time for Army-Navy.

This year will be the 120th meeting between these two storied rivals. While the bowl games have already been decided, there will be plenty on the line on Saturday besides just pride.

Here is everything you need to know for Army-Navy.

When: 3 p.m., Saturday
Where: Lincoln FInancial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
How to watch: CBS

A quick season recap

Navy enters this game ranked No. 23 in the final College Football Playoff rankings after earning a 9-2 record. They were in the running for the Group of 5’s New Year’s Six bowl bid up until the final week before championship week when Memphis wrapped up the division. The Midshipmen’s lone blemishes on the season were a loss to the Tigers that, in the end, cost them the division and a one-sided defeat at the hands of Notre Dame. They will play the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 against Kansas State, the only team with a win over a playoff team this season.

This will be the final game of the season for Army who is 5-7 after last week’s loss to Hawaii. But wait, if Army wins this game, won’t they have six wins? Yes, but the rule for bowl eligibility is not technically not six wins, rather a team has to win 50-percent of its schedule which Army will not. It has not been a bad season for Army so much as it has been a frustrating one. SIx of their seven losses have been by single digits including a three-point loss to Michigan in the Big House.

Army has won the last three meetings

After Navy enjoyed a 14-game win streak against the Black Knights, the longest streak between the two rivals, Army has responded with three straight wins of its own. All three games had a margin of victory of seven points or less, the narrowest of which was a 14-13 win in 2017.

The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is on the line

The Commander-in-Chief Trophy is the rivalry trophy shared between the three service academies. Army is the current holder of the trophy, but they cannot win it outright after losing to Air Force earlier in the year. Navy beat Air Force which means they have a chance to reclaim it with a win over the Black Knights.

Navy currently has the longest drought as the Midshipmen have not won the trophy since 2015. Air Force last had it in 2016.

Should Army win on Saturday, the academies will be in a three-way tie and Army will retain the trophy as the current holder.

This game will feature the top two rushing offenses in the nation

Both Army and Navy run the option offense which means a whole lot of running and not much passing offense. When you rely that much on the ground game, you better be able to do it well and both of these teams do.

The Black Knights enter this game with the second-best rushing offense in the country with 311.7 yards per game. There is only one team that averages more and that team just so happens to be their opponent. Navy boasts 360.8 yards per game on the ground, easily the top rushing attack in the nation.

Army and Navy also rank 129th and 128th respectively in passing offense so there is no real distinct advantage there. Offensively, these teams appear to be about as even as you can be. The advantage then is on defense where Navy has the edge.

The MIdshipmen have held their opponents to 109.7 yards per game on the ground this season, the 17th best rush defense in the nation. Army’s defense ranks 52nd with 144.1 yards per game.

Both teams are going to look good

Here is a look at the uniforms for each team. Army really brought it with the video. Nice touch.

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Virginia Tech holds off upset-minded Chattanooga at home

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Virginia Tech holds off upset-minded Chattanooga at home

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Nahiem Alleyne scored a career-high 22 points to lift Virginia Tech to a 63-58 victory over Chattanooga on Wednesday.

Alleyne hit 7 of 13 from the field, including three 3-pointers for the cold-shooting Hokies (7-3), who survived a scare and snapped a three-game losing streak. Landers Nolley II added 19 points for Virginia Tech.

Stefan Kenic led Chattanooga (6-5) with 16 points.

The Mocs led 51-47 after a 3-pointer by David Jean-Baptiste with 5:23 remaining, but the Hokies answered by scoring on six of their next seven possessions. Alleyne started a 14-2 run that enabled Virginia Tech to build a 61-53 lead and pull away on a night when it shot just 39% (23 of 59) from the field.

Chattanooga cut the deficit to 61-58 on a 3-pointer by Jonathan Scott with seven seconds left, but Alleyne answered two free throws to seal it.

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