Maryland remains at No. 7, Virginia rises in latest college basketball AP Poll

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Maryland remains at No. 7, Virginia rises in latest college basketball AP Poll

Kentucky has climbed to No. 1 in the AP Top 25 men's college basketball poll.

The Wildcats rose one spot after winning a 1-vs-2 matchup with Michigan State to open the season in the Champions Classic, followed by an easy win against Eastern Kentucky.

Kentucky (2-0) earned 64 of 65 first-place votes in Monday's poll, marking the first time the Wildcats have reached No. 1 since early in the 2016-17 season.

This marks the seventh of coach John Calipari's 11 seasons that the Wildcats have spent at least one week atop the AP poll. That includes 10 weeks during the 2011-12 season on the way to the national championship and a start-to-finish stay in 2014-15 as the Wildcats carried an unbeaten record to the Final Four, where they lost to Wisconsin.

Duke climbed two spots to No. 2 after beating Kansas in the Classic's other top-4 matchup.

The Spartans fell to No. 3, followed by Louisville -- which claimed the remaining first-place vote.

Kansas, North Carolina, Maryland, Gonzaga, reigning national champion Virginia and Villanova rounded out the top 10.

Florida took the week's biggest tumble, falling nine spots to No. 15 after a loss to Florida State. Baylor fell eight spots to No. 24 after losing to Washington, which entered the poll at No. 20.

No. 25 Colorado was the other new addition, earning the Pac-12 program's first appearance since being ranked for six weeks during the 2013-14 season.

Purdue and VCU fell out of the poll.

2019 AP Top 25 Poll Week 2

Team (First-place votes), Record (Movement)

#1 Kentucky (64), 2-0 (+1)
#2 Duke, 2-0 (+2)
#3 Michigan State, 1-1 (-2)
#4 Louisville (1), 2-0 (+1)
#5 Kansas, 1-1 (-2)
#6 North Carolina,  2-0 (+3)
#7 Maryland, 2-0
#8 Gonzaga, 2-0
#9 Virginia, 2-0 (+2)
#10 Villanova, 1-0
#11 Texas Tech, 2-0 (+2)
#12 Seton Hall, 2-0
#13 Memphis, 2-0 (+1)
#14 Oregon, 2-0 (+1)
#15 Florida, 1-1 (-9)
#16 Ohio State, 2-0 (+2)
#17 Utah State, 2-0
#18 Saint Mary's (CA), 1-0 (+2)
#19 Arizona, 2-0 (+2)
#20 Washington, 1-0 (unranked)
#21 Xavier, 2-0 (-2)
#22 Auburn, 2-0 (+2)
#23 LSU, 1-0 (-1)
#24 Baylor, 1-1 (-8)
#25 Colorado, 1-0 (unranked)

Dropped out of poll: Purdue (#23), VCU (#25)

Others receiving votes: VCU 137, Florida State 112, Texas 95, Marquette 67, Tennessee 49, Providence 23, Purdue 21, Houston 18, Utah 14, Missouri 13, Arkansas 11, Mississippi State 9, Georgetown 4, Liberty 3, San Diego State 2, Creighton 1, Vermont 1, Dayton 1.

Locally, only two teams from the Mid-Atlantic/ Washington D.C. region were ranked this week. Maryland remained at No. 7 in the poll and Virginia jumped up two spots to No. 9. Ranked last week, VCU fell out of the poll despite going 2-0 to start the year.

The Terps collected two wins against Holy Cross and Rhode Island in their first action. Neither of the wins were too impressive and were come-from-behind victories. The Cavaliers dominated Syracuse and James Madison, holding those opponents to a combined 68 points. While VCU remained undefeated, impressive starts by Washington and Colorado boosted those two teams into the poll over the Rams.

Georgetown and Liberty also received votes, both sitting with 2-0 records.

NBC Sports Washington's Tyler Byrum contributed to this report. 


Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

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Jim Boeheim does not mince words on former Georgetown Hoya James Akinjo

WASHINGTON - Do not expect James Akinjo to transfer to Syracuse this season.  

Orange head coach Jim Boeheim had some harsh words for the former Georgetown guard. Critical of Akinjo's overall approach to the game, Boeheim attributed his removal from the team to Georgetown's three-game winning streak. 

"They got rid of a guy that wouldn't pass the ball to anybody and just shot every time. That's why they're good now," Boeheim said referring to Akinjo after his team's loss to Hoyas.

Akinjo is one of four players that has announced they are leaving the Georgetown program in the past four weeks. As a starter for the Hoyas, Akinjo's loss was the most notable. The rest were all bench players, two seeing action on the back-end of the rotation. 

There is some credence to Boeheim's points. Akinjo averaged 4.4 assists in the seven games he played to start the season. The team as a whole had 14.6 assists on 26 made baskets per game - a 56% assist rate. The three games without him have seen that rate drastically tick up to 69% (20.7 assists on 30 made shots). Against SMU, Georgetown's 26 assists were the most they've had in a single game in nine years. 

Boeheim would also go on to say that despite the loss of four scholarship players, the remaining team is one of the best Georgetown teams he's seen in recent memory. He was unwavering in his support for Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing and was pleased with how he handled the whole situation. 

“Two guys weren’t really contributing at all and another guy was throwing the ball up all the time. I know Patrick [Ewing] can’t say that, but I can. I watched [James Akinjo] play three games. He lost three games, two games by himself," Boeheim said. "(Now) they have a pass-first point guard who can also score and (Mac) McClung gets to play away from the ball... they're a completely different team. If we played them, the way they were playing earlier in the year, we would’ve won the game.”

Terrell Allen, a grad transfer out of UCF, has filled the point guard void in Akinjo's absence. In their big win over SMU, he had 10 of the team's 26 assists and no turnovers. The DeMatha product added six more against Syracuse.

Akinjo has already jumped into the transfer market, visiting Arizona earlier this week. It appears there is no reason for him to waste his time taking a visit to central New York.


Malcolm Perry breaks Army-Navy rushing record in Midshipmen victory

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Malcolm Perry breaks Army-Navy rushing record in Midshipmen victory

In a game between two teams who have for many years run the triple option, you have to be a pretty special player to run for the most yards ever in the Army-Navy Game. Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry did just that on Saturday as he led the Midshipmen to the 31-7 victory snapping a three-year losing streak to Army.

Perry finished the game with 304 rushing yards, the most ever for any player in the Army-Navy Game. He also rushed for two touchdowns.

"How did I bench him last year?" head coach Ken Niumatalolo said during a postgame interview on CBS.

Army took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and Perry took over from there, leading the Midshipmen to 31 unanswered points.

Perry was not the story of the first half as Navy took a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter off of the Philly Special, but his dominant performance became hard to ignore as the game went on as Army proved unable to stop the speedy quarterback.

The victory ensures Navy's senior class did not go without a win against their archrival. It also earned the Midshipmen their first Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 2015.

With the loss, Army's season is now over. Perry will have one game left in his Navy football career as the Midshipmen will play Kansas State on Dec. 31 in the Liberty Bowl.