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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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Richmond Spiders lose leading scorer Blake Francis for 4-6 weeks

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Richmond Spiders lose leading scorer Blake Francis for 4-6 weeks

Richmond Spiders' Blake Francis will miss four to six weeks after fracturing his sternum, the team announced on Thursday.

The injury occurred at the end of the Spiders' contest against Saint Louis on Jan. 11. Francis fell to the floor to save a loose ball when opposing Bilikins dove onto a dogpile to recover the possession themselves. 

If Francis is out for the full six weeks, he would return during the final week of the regular season. It would give the guard a tuneup game before they play in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. 

The loss of Francis for the majority of the Atlantic 10 conference season cannot be overstated. A transfer from Wagner, Francis is the No. 2 guard in the Spiders lineup and putting out 17 points a game. Immediately he had an impact for the Spiders and was named a starter for his first game in Richmond. 

His scoring threat has allowed other stars Jacob Gilyard and Grant Golden to flourish. An aspect of the offense that was missing last year. 

At 13-4, the Spiders were still in NCAA Tournament consideration before the injury. They have one of the better records in the league and tough road victories at Rhode Island and Davidson to their credit. However, there is no wiggle room for the Spiders and they probably cannot afford another loss to anyone not named Dayton or VCU. 

Without Francis, they'll have to supplement the offense elsewhere if they want any chance to return to the big dance in March. 

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Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente takes himself out of running for Baylor job

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Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente takes himself out of running for Baylor job

Virginia Tech fans can breathe a sigh of relief today, as head coach football coach Justin Fuente has decided to stay in Blacksburg, according to Andrea Adelson

Fuente had emerged as a top candidate to replace Matt Rhule at Baylor, but he took himself out of the running and will look to improve on a strong close to the 2019 season for the Hokies. 

Fuente just finished replacing a number of defensive assistants. He hired a new cornerbacks coach Tuesday and promoted Justin Hamilton to defensive coordinator after Bud Foster retired. 

While a bad loss to Virginia at the end of the regular season and a heartbreaking loss in the bowl game to Kentucky could paint the season as a failure, finishing 8-5 after early-season struggles is a victory in and of itself.

Heading into next season, Virginia Tech fans have to feel good about the state of their team. The head coach is back and they seemed to find a rising star at quarterback in Hendon Hooker. 

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