NCAA

Here's how the Indiana Hoosiers can make the 2019 NCAA Tournament

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Here's how the Indiana Hoosiers can make the 2019 NCAA Tournament

Indiana has been the bane to several college basketball fans throughout the latter half of the season. 

They are a team that is hovering around a .500 record (15-14) and have a poor Big Ten standing (6-12). Yet, they are a team on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi they are in the “Next Four Out,” the fifth team in line outside of the current bracket. And everyone knows the history of Power 5 teams sitting on the bubble.

Realistically it should have never gotten to this point. They dropped seven straight conference games and 12 of 13 throughout January and February. There is no chance they will finish with a winning record in Big Ten play, let alone the top half of the conference. 

But, there are several reasons why they are in consideration. 

First, Indiana is a blue blood of college basketball and there are several pundits that are waiting for their return to glory. Early in the season many expected them to be a top five Big Ten team and contending for the title. They were ranked as high as 21st in the Associated Press poll in Week 9 and it appeared that the early season projections were correct.

Secondly, Romeo Langford is someone that everyone will want to see in March. The projected lottery pick has balled out for the Hoosiers this season. As a freshman guard he scores 16.9 points a contest and has hit some clutch shots to give the Hoosiers victories this season. As dumb as it sounds, the NCAA looks better when their stars are playing for the national championship.

Third, they have some of the best wins in college basketball this year. Looking at the current Top 25 poll, they have a home win over No. 16 Marquette, a home-away sweep of No. 9 Michigan State and a win over No. 21 Wisconsin.

The only other teams with as many signature wins as them are championship contenders. Combine that with a weak bubble and it is clear, they will have a chance in 10 days on Selection Sunday. 

Here is what it would take for the Hoosiers can make the NCAA Tournament. This is of course assuming they do not win the Big Ten’s automatic bid:

-Win out in the regular season (@ Illinois and vs. Rutgers); a loss would pretty much end any hope
-At least a semifinal run in the Big Ten Tournament. Winning out will put them at 9th in the Big Ten. It would set up a matchup with either Minnesota or Ohio State in the No. 8/9 matchup in the Big Ten Tournament. They have to win that and then beat Michigan/ Michigan State/ Purdue as the top seed in the tournament. A run to the championship would just be for seeding.

Think about it, with the above scenario they would have three top-10 victories, one at a neutral site and one on the road. They play in a Power 5 conference without a horrible loss on their record.

That means four more wins will get Indiana into the tournament. They would finish 19-15 (8-12) - perhaps better - and likely be a No. 11 or No. 12 seed. 

If you’re in the camp saying they don’t belong, no worries, just root for one loss. 

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Syracuse comes to DC with drama swirling around Hoyas

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Syracuse comes to DC with drama swirling around Hoyas

Georgetown's season has flipped on its head. A once-promising season is now muddled in controversy and the unknown of what the future has in store.

But, as the Hoyas continue to navigate their way through troubled waters, there is one constant that remains: playing Syracuse. 

The Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry will enter it's 95th chapter on Saturday at Capital One Arena. One of the best rivalries in college basketball still burns despite how far apart the worlds of both teams are. 

Decades have come and gone - along with their once-great Big East conference - but once again Patrick Ewing is the leading face of the Hoyas and Jim Boeheim is coaching on the Orange's sideline. Both of whom are going through two of the toughest years during their time at their respective schools. 

Georgetown (6-3) is in the midst of turmoil within their program. Two of their top six players abruptly left the program in early December. One of which was their point guard, James Akinjo, the other was their sixth man off the bench, Josh LeBlanc. LeBlanc and two other current Hoyas are facing legal issues as they all have restraining orders from a Georgetown student. 

Despite the issues, the team has won two of their three biggest wins of the season since. Road wins over Oklahoma State and SMU gave Georgetown two top-100 KenPom victories that will go a long way for them in March. In Akinjo's absence, the current Big East Player of the Week Mac McClung has delivered masterful performances of 33 and 19 points respectively. 

Sputtering to a 5-4 (1-1 ACC) start, things have not been smooth for Syracuse either. All season the Orange have struggled to find their identity with no seniors and five freshmen on the roster. Their shooting has been inconsistent and ill-timed mistakes put them in early holes. Redshirt Junior Elijah Hughes and the coach's son Buddy Boddy Boeheim have provided most of the offense, accounting for 47% of their points this season. 

A rough start is not what Boeheim is accustomed to - before their win over Georgia Tech, 4-4 was their worst start in his 43-year tenure.

This won't be the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry of the 1980s or have the importance the games did in the late 2000s in the old Big East. But when the Blue and Orange take the court the intensity will be there for both sides. Ewing will be erratic on the Georgetown bench and Boeheim, well is Boeheim. The fanbases' disdain for one other will fill Capital One and all that energy should percolate down to the players. 

This is the final big test of each team's nonconference slate, but another chapter in the great rivalry.

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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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