NCAA

Navy proved they belong in first year in the AAC

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Navy proved they belong in first year in the AAC

The 2015 season marked the first in the entire 135 year history of history of Navy football in which they did not compete as an independent.

After a long illustrious history that includes one national championship (1926) and two Heisman Trophies, the Naval Academy accepted an invitation to join the Big East in 2012. With the college football landscape growing evermore tumultuous due to conference realignment, Navy gambled and stuck with that commitment even after the Big East became the American Athletic Conference.

Even after only one year, that gamble has paid off in spades.

Let's forget for a moment what Navy did on the field this season. In this era of college football, life as in independent is difficult. Scheduling is hard to do without eight or nine conference games filling up the schedule. Obviously Navy will always have Notre Dame and Army to play every season, but they still have to fill another 10 games every season.

A team like Notre Dame can always find teams to play, especially with their five game agreement with the ACC. It is not so easy for the less prestigious programs. Army played against two FCS opponents this season which is not what Navy, a team that has remained competitive despite the obvious disadvantages that come with competing as a military academy, wants to do.

Bowl tie-ins are also largely based on conference affiliations.

The struggles of finding teams to play or bowls to play in have frustrated teams like BYU and may have contributed to long-time coach Bronco Mendenhall leaving for Virginia. As strength of schedule becomes more important in the age of the College Football Playoff, most independents, other than Notre Dame, are left on the outside looking in. Some conferences don't consider BYU or Army as "power teams" which thus discourages them from adding independents to future schedules.

By joining a conference, Navy gets eight conference games per season, plus Notre Dame and Navy. That means they only need to schedule two other games per season. They also don't need to be worried about getting left out of a bowl should they qualify thanks to the AAC tie-ins.

Now let's go on the field. None of those benefits would matter if Navy was completely non-competitive. That's not what happened. Navy finished 7-1 in conference play, tied with first place in the division with eventual conference champion Houston. Ken Niumatalolo was named the conference's Co-Coach of the Year with Houston's Tom Herman. The Midshipmen are now slated to play in the Military Bowl against Pittsburgh, a game that will take place in Navy's home stadium in Annapolis.

To say this worked out for Navy would be an understatement.

Navy may not always compete for the conference crown as they did this season, but the benefits that come with the move to the AAC will remain. Trading in their tradition as an independent was a gamble, but it will be good for the program and it's a move that has already paid off for the Midshipmen.

For tickets to the 2015 Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, click here!

Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

After testing the NBA Draft waters, Georgetown center Jessie Govan decided to return to the Hoyas for his senior season.

Govan announced his intention to return on Instagram a week before the final commitment deadline.

Returning to the Hoyas is definitely a boost to the program that will be in their second year under head coach Patrick Ewing.  At 6-10, Govan was the team’s leading scorer (17.9 ppg) and rebounder (10.0 rpg) averaging a double-double last season.

Paired alongside power forward Marcus Derrickson, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable in the paint. Derrickson though decided to forgo his senior year and signed with an agent after the season.

Had Govan decided to leave that would have meant over 56 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding would have departed (to graduation or professional pursuits) in a handful of months. Not the best outlook for a 15-win team that went 5-13 in the Big East.

Instead Ewing gets back his leading scorer that many believe he can mold as a young protégée. While in the draft process without an agent Govan had workouts with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Both are valuable experiences that he will bring to a relatively young Georgetown squad.

Having Govan for one more year will bridge Ewing’s second season to transfer big-man, Omer Yurtseven to his first year of eligibility in 2019. They were set up to having a walk-on and two sophomores being the only returning Hoyas over 6-6 for the upcoming season.

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.