NCAA

March Madness 2019: What you need to know about No. 4 Virginia Tech

March Madness 2019: What you need to know about No. 4 Virginia Tech

It was a stellar season for the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC this season. 

Returning six rotation players, including three starters from last year's tournament team, many expected Virginia Tech to go places this season.

A 12-1 nonconference showing allowed the Hokies to emerge early in the national landscape and in a crowded ACC field. They garnered wins over ranked Purdue and Washington.

As a team they were not afraid to jack it up this season. The Hokies were the ninth best 3-point shooting team in the country this season, and are the third best 3-point shooting team in the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies will be a threat in any game in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, but if shots are off it can it ugly. 

En route to the third straight appearance n the big dance for Buzz Williams and co., the team wrapped up their season with a monster home victory over national championship contender Duke. 

However, the team was without their point guard Justin Robinson for a the later half of the year. Robinson missed 12 games due to a foot injury. Fellow guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker then had the tall task of facing an opponent's best defender and it rippled down the roster. Alexander-Walker is a talented shooter, but is a much better force when he is playing behind another scorer.

Relying on more of their post play than their three-point game, the Hokies slowly transitioned to a slightly more traditional offense. Still that will not stop their big man, Kerry Blackshear Jr. from stepping back when necessary (59 3-point attempts on the year).

Robinson, however, will be back for the NCAA Tournament, which should provide a boost to their offense. It will then allow Ty Outlaw, a 46 percent 3-point shooter, to come off of the bench.

Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, Virginia Tech has never made it past the Second Round. Under Williams, the program has never won a tournament game. 

That can change when the Hokies play Saint Louis Friday at 9:57 p.m. on TruTV.

Record: 

24-8 (12-6 ACC)

Seed:

No. 4, East (At-large bid)

First Round Opponent:

No. 13 Saint Louis

The Path to the Final Four:

No. 13 Saint Louis, No. 5 Mississippi State, No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Michigan State

Top Players:

Justin Robinson (13.7 ppg, 5.1 apg)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (16.6 ppg, 3.9 apg - ACC Third Team)
Kerry Blackshear Jr. (14.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg - ACC Second Team)

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Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Coming out of the NFL combine, former Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. was projected to be a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. But could he end up sliding into the first round on Thursday?

It seems like a possibility now, based on some of the teams he's met with, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday. And NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has previously said Savage could rise to the first round too.

NBC Sports Washington's latest NFL Mock Draft has Savage going to the Green Bay Packers as the 44th overall pick.

According to Rapoport, Savage met with 11 teams, including the Carolina Panthers (No. 16 overall pick), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20 overall pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 21 overall pick), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 25 overall pick) and Los Angeles Rams (No. 31 overall pick). 

The three-year starter out of College Park was named Second Team All-Big Ten this season after recording 52 tackles (38 solo, 14 assist) for the Terps, along with four interceptions, including one pick six. He's versatile, strong and fast, and even if he gets passed by in the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems unlikely that he'll still be available by the end of the second.

At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Savage ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February -- a time that was second-fastest among all safeties -- and posted a 39.5-inch vertical, third among safeties, and a 126-inch broad jump. He also had 11 bench-press reps.

Pro Football Focus has Savage listed as the second-best safety in this year's draft class behind Delaware's Nasir Adderley because he's "a missile around the line of scrimmage".

MORE NFL DRAFT NEWS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

The George Washington University men's basketball team landed the son of longtime NBA point guard Jameer Nelson Tuesday. 

Jameer Nelson Jr., a 2019 guard out of Pennsylvania's Haverford School, decommitted from his father's alma mater (Saint Joseph's) following the news that Phil Martelli would not return for the 2019-20 season. 

This marks first-year head coach Jamion Christian's second commitment since being named head coach of the Colonials after one year at Siena College. 

Nelson Sr. played in the Association from 2004 to 2018, including 10 seasons in Orlando. The point guard averaged a career-best 16.7 points per game during the 2008-09 campaign.